Magga Dóra

Magga Dóra

User experience designer with background in psychology and computer science. Loves anything and everything that has to do with user behavior. Also loves travelling, photography and teaching. Please refer to her CV for details. One of the founders of Arctic Girl Geek Dinner - Tæknitátur.

Watch me at TEDx Reykjavik in 2009

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On the importance of architecture

I have taken part in many projects focused on buying software for a company, both as a vendor and as a buyer. Competing vendors present different software that is supposed to address all the needs of the buyer. Comparing software is difficult (and comparing it to the specifications that they are supposed to fulfill even more so)* so usually these presentations focus on the few functions that differentiate them.

Yet decisions on buying software are being made, based on the only tangible thing available: Price (or in some cases the number of extra features).

What consistently amazes buyers of software is the difference in price for the “same thing” (meaning something that offers the same functionality). Now for us, producers of software, it is often clear as daylight that these are definitely not the same thing. But how to convey that to those not inclined to discuss the difference of RubyOnRails vs. java or the merits of hiring a web designer vs. their cousin’s kid?

Tell them the story of the three little pigs. Remember that story? Nobody tells it better than Christopher Walken:

The good thing about this story is that even if people have trouble understanding the technical terms of why some software is too cheap they understand the difference between the quality of the piggies houses.

Each piggy’s house was functionally the same. The piggies were quite content living there. The first two were much cheaper to build than the third, brick, one. We need to convince those with the check book that they should go for the brick one nonetheless. It pays when the big bad wolf comes to town.


* They are incomplete, have usually not been collected from the users and are badly documented.

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