Looking down the barrel of a gun

Here is a design that requires disobedience of the fundamental rule in a sport: don’t point your gun at someone you don’t plan to shoot. Blogger Mark Shead posits it might be due to a lack of domain knowlege by the designer and extends the analogy to software design.

Mistakes in software design aren’t always as easy to spot, but often it comes down to the same thing. To design something you must have at least a basic level of domain knowledge.  That doesn’t means you have to be a world famous chef in order to write a recipe webapp, but you need to make sure you at least know the basics.

Read the full post discussing this design.

2 thoughts on “Looking down the barrel of a gun”

  1. What step in the design process was the error was made?
    The gun was created- was it never field tested with actual athletes? Maybe, due to the large canister size, the gauge couldn’t face the opposite way.

    In the same vein, if there’s a unique feature to a product/web site that causes the rest of it to function poorly, it might be best to just leave the feature out.

  2. If you read the comments under the article, it ironically enough turns out with some (slightly more specific) domain knowledge that this is infact a very good design, and the author had made several assumptions about the use of the pistol and guage.

    To summarise, the users of the gun have no need to look at the gauge when firing or in use. The gauge is actually only there for when the cannister is being refilled from a gas cylinder. The gauge is also specifically designed to be read from an angle up to 80 degrees, meaning the user has no need to be face on to the cannister. The design is standard accross all major manufacturers and designing it in any other way would negatively affect the performance of the pistol.

    It did seem slightly odd to me that a gun manufacturer would have had a lack of domain knowledge as bad as this originally seemed!

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