Saturday, April 17, 2010


I'm working on an application that plays video, and displays some widgets and graphics on top of that, depending on what actions the user makes. Some of the widgets have a degree of transparency to them, others do not, and cover up the entire area of video behind them.

I was working on getting the widgets to display the right information, and didn't pay as much attention to how each layer was interacting with those below. When I demoed my work to my colleagues, one immediately noticed that when the widgets overlapped, the transparency of the top was was being passed on to the one below, making the overlapping areas transparent and displaying the video below.

I was focused on displaying the correct information, and didn't even notice the transparency problem. My colleague, a graphics expert, immediately noticed the problem, and started thinking of ways to solve the issue. That's when our other colleague, also a graphics expert, chimed in with a very pragmatic idea:

Let's move the widgets around, and put off fixing the problem until we have to.

Takeaways: While focusing on a specific task, continue to keep the entire application (project) in mind.

  1. In my case, while I was working on presenting the correct data, I should have paid attention to other details in the application.
  2. As graphics experts, my colleagues could have jumped at the chance to fix the transparency problem. Instead, they stepped back to consider this problem in regards to other priorities within our project, and decided to delay the fix.

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