About ten years ago, I was an intern at a professional services firm for a summer. The job was totally awesome, and I was involved in developing software and streamlining processes. Since I was the youngest person in the office, I was approached by big wigs and middle managers who are too embarrassed to call the real tech support team. Anyway, that was mostly harmless, but there was one event that will stay in my mind forever.
So one day, I was designing test scripts for an internal database software they were trying to roll out. The thing had to be 100% idiot proof, and I was slowly learning what that meant by trial and error.
After much work, I finally got the chance to invite other employees at the firm to run my test scripts and identify any bugs or issues we might have missed. The day was going well and then a hand shoots up on the other side of the room.
Tester #1: When I right-click to copy my selection, the menu doesn’t come up.
I go over to check his issue. Sure enough, right-clicking on his mouse doesn’t bring up the right-click dialogue menu. I minimise the program and try right clicking his home screen, which doesn’t work either. I tell him to log the issue and just use the keyboard shortcuts for now. He gives me a blank look.
Oh no. I’ve confused one of them.
Things were going well for everyone else. However, just in case, I ask all the testers to pause what they are doing. Now bear in mind, they are all employees of a professional services firm that is working on a number of software projects.
Me: So everyone, if you’re having an issue populating the field with the mouse, you can also use Ctrl+C to copy and Ctrl+V to paste.
I briefly demonstrate how to use these shortcuts. Test #1 nods, and tries it himself, looking much like a giraffe trying to walk for the first time. Suddenly, his mouth agape, Test #1 looks at me like I’ve lain my healing hand upon his brow. I see others look down at their keyboards, and in my head I can hear a crescendo of miraculous music from above. A smile pops up from behind a monitor. And another. And another. In no time nearly half of the testers are banging out value inputs by rapidly copy+pasting, copy+pasting, copy+pasting. The first round of testing finishes earlier than expected, and I’m happy I was able to teach somebody something.