User Friendliness: Do Computers Have to be Clinical and Boring?

Written by Daniel Punch

While sleeping through a lecture recently I roused for just long enough to catchrepparttar lecturer saying that "Error messages should not try to be funny or amusing, they should be clear and concise". This got me thinking aboutrepparttar 137586 ever-elusive goal of user friendliness. The concept has changed much overrepparttar 137587 years with packages such as DOS going from being one ofrepparttar 137588 easiest packages onrepparttar 137589 market, to now being complicated, convoluted, and ignored. I have begun to wonder why I am being taught that computers have to be boring to be user friendly.

The predictable nature of computers is quite dull. I study computers and work with them, so I'm used to experiencing a certain number of faults every now and then. I find these dull and depending on how close my current deadline is, downright infuriating. Onrepparttar 137590 Internet side of things there is little quite as irritating as running into a 404 page when you're trying to find something. However,repparttar 137591 other day I ran into a site that displayed random 404 Haikus and instead of being upset atrepparttar 137592 fact that my time was being wasted, I ended up typing in bizarre addresses just so that I could read all ofrepparttar 137593 little poems. You can find a few lists of 404 Haikus from a simple search in Google. Humorous website has an entertaining page when you getrepparttar 137594 address wrong that screams "Four-oh-foured!" and displays a very entertaining message. They have another 404 page on their site that is a hilarious cartoon you can watch.

In terms of applications, games occasionally have amusing error messages such asrepparttar 137595 one in 'Escape From Monkey Island' withrepparttar 137596 title "Congratulations, you have found a bug!" and concludes with "...get back to work". There's naturally a bit more leniency and tendency towards entertaining secrets in games. Easter Eggs used to be a lot more common in software applications. These are hidden sections of code thatrepparttar 137597 average user will never activate but which provide an amusing result when they do. For a large list go to and search for a specific type of software program that you use. There may be a few minutes of hidden entertainment to be found.

Strategic Outsourcing: Testing the Outsourcing Waters and Staying Afloat

Written by Jenne Wason

Before Gertrude Ederle began her historic swim off of Cape Griz-Nez, France, she underwent extensive training for endurance and technique—even though she was already an accomplished record-breaking swimmer with Olympic medals to her name. Outsourcing IT may not garnerrepparttar same attention as beingrepparttar 137553 first woman to swimrepparttar 137554 English Channel, but it is no less important to gather as much experience and knowledge as possible on a small scale before diving in forrepparttar 137555 big swim.

The trend toward IT outsourcing is increasing dramatically. According to a report by Foote Partners, as much as 45% of North American IT work will be outsourced by 2005. And there are good reasons behind this trend. Bruce Caldwell, principal Gartner analyst believes companies can generate 20-30% savings through outsourcing. This substantial savings potential isn't easily overlooked, yet it isn'trepparttar 137556 number one reason companies are choosing to outsource right now. In a recent survey by The Outsourcing Institute,repparttar 137557 primary reason behind outsourcing is to improve company focus. Other motives include freeing up internal resources, accessing top-notch capabilities, and accelerating time to market. The survey also indicated that 55% of firms who outsource do so within IT—more than any other area.

As more companies begin outsourcing some or all of their IT function, it becomes difficult to ignorerepparttar 137558 competitive pressure. With competitors achieving their IT needs at 20-30% less cost, and getting ahead inrepparttar 137559 market because of increased focus withinrepparttar 137560 company, those who ignorerepparttar 137561 outsourcing trend could potentially lose ground very quickly.

Atrepparttar 137562 same time, outsourcing horror stories abound. According to Gartner research firm, half ofrepparttar 137563 current outsourcing projects will not meetrepparttar 137564 company's expectations and will be considered failures. Whilerepparttar 137565 vast majority of these failures are only minor disappointments whererepparttar 137566 company decides to outsource to another vendor, certainly a few are major catastrophes. An anonymous case study in IT Metrics Strategies discusses a CIO who chose to outsource to beat competitors to market. The outsourcer had promised to meet a deadline his staff had said was impossible. Whenrepparttar 137567 outsourcer failed,repparttar 137568 CIO couldn't rebuild his team fast enough to finishrepparttar 137569 job. Inrepparttar 137570 end,repparttar 137571 product never got to market at all.

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