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General Chat Thread, Want Your Views: in General; As I said elsewhere I have started writing for ComputerWorldUK. Would like peoples views on a topic I am writing. ...
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    russdev's Avatar
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    Want Your Views:

    As I said elsewhere I have started writing for ComputerWorldUK. Would like peoples views on a topic I am writing. In my last post talked about users having choice?

    Coca-Cola, loyalty and IT support - Community - ComputerworldUK

    My question to you guys and girls is how do you build in that choice but keep things realistic to support?

    Russ

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    bossman's Avatar
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    @russdev:

    Choice Hmmm let me think now!
    Well in my own opinion there is just too much choice available and not enough standardisation today.

    Lets take for instance the good old sweetshop, when I was a lad there was very little choice in the way of sweets and therefore your time stood in the shop making your mind up on what to spend your tuppence on was very limited.

    Today the range of sweets is immense and this is the reason behind the 2 children at a time constraint you have in most corner sweetshops as the children cannot make their minds up about what they would like and therefore the shop owner tends to get a little frustrated.

    What is choice really? is the best thing for us and how do we as people deal with choice?
    I feel personally as I have stated too much choice could be detrimental to our health and our well being as it creates frustrations and indecision.

    Balance I feel is the key? this is really difficult to maintain and those people who can create and maintain the balance in whatever they do will always be at the forefront of the human race.

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    russdev (4th March 2010)

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    sippo's Avatar
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    Choice has recently been highlighted with Microsoft browser stuff.

    I think you need a choice nowadays, and have to by law I think? I think if we don't have a choice a lot of people would be very unhappy and feel controlled.

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    russdev (4th March 2010)

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    TwoZeroAlpha's Avatar
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    posted as a comment on your article but essentially I don't give my users a choice on anything important. I am here and paid to make those choices for them, they understand this and a happy about it.

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    sparkeh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sippo View Post
    I think if we don't have a choice a lot of people would be very unhappy and feel controlled.
    I am not sure that is true.
    An interesting talk on the bad side of choice: Barry Schwartz on the paradox of choice (worth a viewing).

    Central ideas (with some supporting evidence)

    Too many choices cause:
    *Paralysis rather than liberation - people prefer to make no decision rather than make a complicated choice.
    *Less satisfaction with decisions as people have greater reason to regret the decisions they have made.
    *Unrealistic expectations.
    *Self-blame - when experiences are not perfect, people blame themselves.
    Last edited by sparkeh; 4th March 2010 at 10:05 AM.

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    sippo's Avatar
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    Choices in a controlled environment are restricted more so, like in a school due to security. But in a business place is probably more relaxed?

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    SYNACK's Avatar
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    @sparkeh - beat me to it, was going to post a link about it as soon as I read the OP

    I agree with others though, choice in certain instances is more trouble than it is worth and causes more complication. We offer multiple browsers etc but within sane limits and the use of whichever one is mandated by the teacher depending on the task. (Primary School)

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    sonofsanta's Avatar
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    After 4 months trying to decide which components to buy for my PC - yes, too much choice is paralysing and To Be Avoided.

    Within a reasonably sized field of choices - 3 or 4 clearly delineated options - choice is indeed a welcome thing. When you are trying to pick between 20 things differentiated on a dozen different atributes it becomes ridiculou and unfeasible.

    This is probably a significant part of why people have favourite brands and brands they are dubious of, often based on little more than a gut feeling - it helps narrow the field down and make a choice easier to manage.

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    apoth0r's Avatar
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    Isn't choice an illusion?
    There is no spoon.

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    Quote Originally Posted by russdev View Post
    My question to you guys and girls is how do you build in that choice but keep things realistic to support?

    Russ
    I make the choices at our school when it comes to hardware. Departments give me a spec of what they need to do and I source the correct equipment. Keeping them informed and therefore involved as much as is possible.

    Departments, most anyway, return the courtesy of involving me when they are deciding on a new piece of software or a specific item of hardware for which they have the expertise. An example would be the recent purchase of a laser milling machine by our DT department. I wouldn't dream of telling them which model to buy, just offer advice on if it could be integrated into our current setup.

    Trying to get the balance between what people need and what they want is difficult, but if we let everyone buy whatever kit they wanted then it would just be impossible to provide any sort of effective support.

    That's my opinion anyway.

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    russdev (4th March 2010)

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    So being a bit of devils advocate here (help I am turning into Tony).

    But you want BSF to give you choice are then doing same as us and not giving us the choice? standardisation isn't that what BSF brings?

    What about Microsoft Office vrs OpenOffice?

    What about teacher wanting a laptop station instead of desktop as they on the move a lot?

    What about choice of which way you access the support?

    It will be interesting to see this from a flip side and teachers point of view?

    A more fuller response later

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    sonofsanta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by russdev View Post
    So being a bit of devils advocate here (help I am turning into Tony).

    But you want BSF to give you choice are then doing same as us and not giving us the choice? standardisation isn't that what BSF brings?

    What about Microsoft Office vrs OpenOffice?

    What about teacher wanting a laptop station instead of desktop as they on the move a lot?

    What about choice of which way you access the support?

    It will be interesting to see this from a flip side and teachers point of view?

    A more fuller response later
    Removing choice altogether is, I feel, never an option - at the very minimum, fake a choice so that people feel invested in it. Even that is a risky business though, as I wouldn't like it done to me - but sometimes there may well be no choice when someone with just a little knowledge (that oh-so-dangerous level) wants to make a decision they don't truly understand the ramifications of.

    Best practice is to narrow the choices down, imho - as I said before, 3-4 is manageable, especially if you can boil it down to someone in a simple manner such that they can make a genuinely informed decision. As technical people it's our job to filter down to only the viable options, particularly given that we will have to support any decision make - by all means, decide you want a laptop, but bear in mind we will nag you every term to pass it to us to do a healthcheck and updates on it, and if you don't like that, you can't have a laptop. Choices are compromises; you just have to make it acceptable to everyone.

    As ever, knowledge is power. People who don't have the knowledge (and aren't willing to gain it) don't deserve the opportunity to make the choice.

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    dhicks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by russdev View Post
    how do you build in that choice but keep things realistic to support?
    As long as people have the perception of choice then they're happy - ask them their opinion, give them the impression they thought of an idea in the first place, but in reality just get on and do things the best way anyway.

    --
    David Hicks

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    russdev's Avatar
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    A fuller response again little of me is playing devil’s advocate here.

    So what about choice to teach in a style that is right for the teacher at hand (we are expected to personalise learning so why not for the teacher)?

    If by disallowing choice, are we bringing out the stereotyped view of IT support? What about Office does that mean you have to use Microsoft? What if a student can’t afford Microsoft Office and they have OpenOffice but then forget to save it in Microsoft Word format?

    What about BSF does bring the standards people are asking for only problem is it is not your standard!

    My own view is we have to offer choice. To make a point I never said that we had to offer every choice but users should have some choice.

    As for making users think, they have a choice but not giving them a choice. My view is that is a very dangerous game to play and one could backfire in big way if caught doing it.

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    tmcd35's Avatar
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    I don't think it's about choice at all. It's about communication.

    It's not about giving choice on what IWB/Printer/Laptop/Office Suite may be used. It's about informing and updating on and discussing changes ahead of time. Keeping teachers in the loop rather than after fact 'this how iti is'. - A lesson I'm currently learning the hard way.

    It's not about giving choice on how they recieve support or report problems. It's about keeping them updated, let them know the progress of the support issue.

    Communication not choice.

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