Design By Committee

As a programmer, I pride myself on being able to, after the grunt work is done and the program is made functional, make my programs look pleasing, pretty. Usually this involves picking a color scheme using the well known color wheel (paint stores usually provide free ones, they are worth picking up). I start with the company colors and pick others that are complimentary and so on. I pick colors that sharply contrast for things such as alerts, alarms and errors, to make them stand out. I also usually fire up my trusty copy of Paint Shop Pro and craft some graphics to help round out the designs of menus and reports, and I always keep the sizes small so they don’t impede the loading time of the pages.

Then I give the program to the testers and the clients who usually come back with the most idiotic of requests. “Can we make the highlight color a light green text on a purple background? It will be easier to read.” “Can you remove the graphics from the menus? Just leave them blocky tables, we don’t need them to look good.” “Can you make my name appear on the top of every single page in giant 48 point font so that I always know that it is me who is logged in so I don’t use someone else’s account?”

And I have to do them, because my boss thinks that “the customer is always right”. But I know, since it happens every single time, that once the testing phase is done, they are going to ask things like “Why does my name appear in 48 point font on the top of every page?”, “Green on purple is awful, why did you choose those colors?”, and “These menus are so bland, can you jazz them up a bit?”

People wonder why I hesitate to put in my best effort the first time around…

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