design an app like Turbo Tax

TurboTax Design FAIL « Scott Berkun 

I was thinking about exactly Turbo Tax example today evening and saw this post. Déjà Vu. We get software requirement for complex order processing applications saying "build me an app which is as easy as Turbo Tax". That application, built as easy as Turbo Tax, to do the processing in sequential steps with hints/questions and directions might work for simplest cases, but when it starts deviating from the normal happy path is when things will start getting complex. Slowly such an easy application will start getting complicated with multiple enhancements to handle more and more complex functions to the point it will start deteriorating. After a while it will go downhill when the original users who used it for the happy path will find it unbearably complex.

The trick is to remember why it was built in the first place and keep that balance through the numerous enhancement cycles. The face should still be recognizable through numerous nose jobs.

We used Turbo Tax this time around, had a tough time transferring tax credits from a previous year into this year, and had to spend hours on a simple tax return. In Turbo Tax's defense, other sites could not even handle that scenario.

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