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Gmail’s Permanent Failure: Only Humans Can Build Software For Humans

It’s telling that even within the Gmail team, there is a basic, fundamental, deep-seeded inability to put things together in a contextually graceful way that makes sense to actual (non-Googler) users—in other words, to deliver a great user experience.

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Understanding how users want to navigate around the application, which tasks to show as buttons versus which to hide in menus, which features should be left out completely, and so on . . . those seemingly minor decisions are often the difference between good software and great software, and the reason great product managers and interaction designers are always in demand.

This is very true. I didn’t understand how true until I began working with these things a few years ago. It’s fascinating to watch how hard my colleagues work every day to provide and continually improve excellent user experiences.

You should read the whole thing. (via TechCrunch.)