I came across an interesting discussion on the Academia StackExchange website about why talented scientist write horrible code.
To summarize some of the main discussion points (I suggest reading it because it provides some user-centric perspectives as well):
- They don't know any better - no one teaches or tells them so the chances of coming up with something good is slim
- The care factor is not high - they are trying to solve problems, not write software (although writing the software is a way to solve the problem... at least compared to getting other people to solve it for them)
- The practical aspect is more important than usability or aesthetics
I still can't help but think the first point is the one that is critical, because it is the same issue that UX designers battle with when convincing management of the ROI on better design. But when a person doesn't have a overall view of the entire product lifecycle it is difficult for them to see how investing the time and effort is worth it in the long run.
Do people see the same issue in areas outside of IT with user experience and usability as well? I suggest that in any types of software application design UX should always be a priority, it just takes getting the message through to the people involved.
I think of people who design games and toys as being one of these areas, because it is about entertaining the user and providing a positive experience. Has anyone worked on non-IT related projects that also emphasized the importance of UX?