Although the book title “Why Software Sucks..and what you can do about it” may sound like a book all about humor, it actually provides a very serious argument about the state of the software industry. The book was written by David S. Platt.
The basic theme of the book is that most software that we use today either misses the mark for functionality, was designed without the user in mind, or both. Platt provides several examples of where the software industry has gone awry with software crashes, poor design, missing functionality, and poor usability.
He cites several reasons why this is the case, but most of Platt’s arguments are summed up in one phrase – software companies do a poor job at understanding their customers needs.
Platt lists several reasons for why this is the case, including poor communication between departments within software companies and the tendency for software developers to think that customers want software the way that they want it. He also gives methods for the customer to improve software design, including provide feedback to the company.
I do agree with his premise that software can be improved by having an active user base that provides feedback to the companies. Ultimately, the software companies are dependent upon the user’s dollars, so they should have a say in the design.
Overall, I enjoyed this book. It was humorous throughout but provided a serious argument with several examples documenting bad software design. If I had a complaint it would be that Platt provides mainly commentary on the software design issue and does not have a lot of quantitative data to back his claims. Nonetheless, the books makes you think about the choices you have as a software consumer.