Saturday, January 14, 2023

Design for the User, Not the Developer

One of my past jobs was at a company that provided legally mandated continuing education courses to securities and insurance reps. Each client's compliance officers needed on-demand reports of student progress and annual reports of compliance status. Knowing these reports were going to be used rarely, but needed to be easy to use when they WERE needed, I worked with several of our clients to build a handful of canned reports that would meet their needs. Some massaging was needed every few years, but the clients were happy. It took them all of five minutes to get the reports that contained the data they needed in the format they needed.

Then came a new bungee boss to run IT. He decided to replace my simple reporting program with a complicated one that involved several steps to add the data you needed. It exposed literally every piece of student information in the system in a complex series of drop-down menus to generate the reports.

The clients HATED it. One of our bigger clients refused to use it because it allowed them to report on how many times a rep had taken the exam before passing. They said they couldn't accept the liability of being able to, in the example they gave, find out a rep needed 45 attempts to pass the ethics exam. They wanted a pass/fail. They didn't even want to know the actual score.

The bungee boss was FURIOUS clients kept demanding my interface instead of his.

"They just need to learn how to use it!" Bungee Boss cried.

"They only use it once a year," I tried to explain. "And they're not IT people."

In the end he just deleted my interface from the system and replaced it with his. The company lost quite a few clients the following year. Bungee Boss convinced the company owner that the reporting changes were not the cause, even though many of the clients who'd left had been part of multi-hour support calls to get the reports they needed.

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Disapproving AI Bunny


I've been playing with AI generated images. One thing I've been doing is exploring "models." Models are trained on different image sets. I've been thinking of trying to build my own models using only public domain images as a way to address one of the ethical issues with models trained on images not licensed for that purpose. As part of this exploration I've been using the reference phrase "disapproving bunny" and the seed of 8675309 on different models to see how different the results can be. The results have been interesting.

Before settling on the shorter "disapproving bunny" as my reference phrase I generated a few with the phrase, "Reference image of a disapproving bunny created by different models." The results were a bit more varied.