While working on some enhancements for a client’s application I was reminded how sometimes simple changes can be powerful, useful, and appreciated by end users.

I was giving a demo of new functionality, some of which was pretty slick, but the changes which got the most positive reaction and comments from users were three simple and seemingly boring ones: sorting a list in descending order so newest items were at top, defaulting some date fields to the current date, and filtering out old records (but giving a way to show all of them).  These ideas came from the users themselves but I never realized how useful they could be.

Not having these simple changes were really annoying on a daily basis to users because it forced extra steps to complete very common functions.  Nobody wants to click through an extra long list because the default sort order in database is ascending rather than descending…and constantly entering today’s date for a field when no other date makes sense is irritating.

It’s so easy for programmers to get stuck in the rut of just getting things done when some time should be spent in the user’s head..imagine how your application is perceived and used doing real work throughout the work day.  You might discover something simple which can make a huge difference to many people.