inessential by Brent Simmons

Three (or Six)

Jeff Cheney remembered something that Sheila and I forgot—that Sheila’s and my weblogs just turned three years old.

Both of our weblogs were created shortly before Manila shipped. (For those who are new to this weblog—I used to work for UserLand, and I worked on Manila.)

Sheila’s weblog started as a test site. Manila was fairly close to being finished, but we wanted some more usability testing, so I asked Sheila to help, and she did.

Some of the more user-friendly touches came out of watching Sheila work with her site and later discussing Manila with her. I don’t remember all the details—except for one.

At that time, when you uploaded a picture to a Manila site, it automatically generated a shortcut name, something like picNum123, where the 123 part was the discussion group message number containing the picture.

This proved to be confusing and not particularly user-friendly. Sheila insisted that the shortcut should be the name of the file, as in myCat.gif or ThanksgivingTurkey.jpg.

So, we (UserLand) discussed it internally, and made that change before shipping—and I’m sure glad we did.

Anyway, this is just to say that it takes a village to raise an application. And every user of any app should remember that it’s not just the developers who deserve thanks but also the beta testers and early users.