>Bad Habit in Design: Concentrating on the 20%

>I was hit again today with a bad habit we can get into trying to solve a problem. At work we need a way to handle meeting and conference registration. However, instead of concentrating on addressing the 80% use case, I tried to solve and address the 20% use case. What ended up happening was that the end product was starting to become overly complicated just for the basic requirements. Most of the time we only need the following items:

  1. Post event/meeting announcement.
  2. Post a description of the announcement.
  3. Post dates and times for meeting/event
  4. Post meeting location.
  5. Send confirmation notices and cancelation notices to attendees.
  6. Allow people to sign up and attend the meeting/event.

This covers the vast majority of events and meetings that we have to run. We have one additional meeting that has a need for some extras like paper submission, possible payment options, etc. But this one meeting requirement was getting in the way of the other 80%.

So, the solution was to take a step back, and try to do the simpliest thing that could possibly work. Which in this case, was for me not to re-invent the wheel, but leverage an existing open source solution for Joomla, called Seminar. Handles exactly the 80% in a simple manner and does it well.

We still have a need for the 20% case, but there are work arounds to handle that situation. In this particular case, doing the simpliest thing that could possibly work was the most expedient and workable solution. Its something that we need to keep in mind when we are approaching a problem, not to get too caught up in the edge cases, that we over complicate the main tasks that users need to get done.

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