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Chapter 7. Homo Logicus > The Psychology of Computer Programmers

The Psychology of Computer Programmers

Because our goal is to create software-based products that are both powerful and pleasurable for human users, understanding the psychology of the user might seem a natural prerequisite. This is, of course, true, but it obscures another more important, but far less obvious, point. Determining the solution and getting that solution implemented are two very different actions. I'd rather have a partial design actually built than have a better design sit in useless, dusty majesty on the shelf. To get our designed products actually created and into the hands of users, a far more important prerequisite is to understand the psychology of the builders—the programmers.

Nothing will change unless we can influence the software developers. Even if the programmers agree that the user should be better treated—and they usually do—that doesn't necessarily mean that they will do what is necessary to actually accomplish this goal. You are not going to get them to change just by asking them. In order to effect a real solution, we need insight into their thinking so that we can figure out how to motivate them to create interaction that is good for users. For the interaction designer, understanding psychology is very important, but it must include the psychology of the software engineer as well as the psychology of the user.


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