Blake Ross posted that Netscape has lost focus and proposed that all developers should be required to attend usability testing. He also says that there should be manditory usability testing and UI approval before check ins. Absolutely. Both of these would help improve the product. Even if only the Netscape developers attend usability testing, it would help. It’d be interesting to see Netscape do usability testing to evaluate UI developed outside Netscape.
Blake also mentions the pain of fixing UI bugs. He complains about bickering in bug reports. I feel there’s a place for everybody having a say about the UI. Certainly problems in the UI should and do get feedback. The challenge is to trust knowledgable and skilled UI designers to develop appropriate fixes. Having non-designers debating solutions isn’t profitable and leads to some wacky proposals, as Blake points out. UI review and approval before check ins would make a world of difference. This could be done explicitly, or just by module owners bowing to the UI designers.
I was starting to get worried about agreeing so much with Blake. But it makes perfect sense now. The world is ending.