Yesterday I gave a bad demo of pretty good software that has a few rough edges. I made a classic mistake, after working on it for months: assuming the audience is as forgiving as we are, and that they'll see what isn't there.
We left out a number of subtle but absolutely key visual cues. I've know for some time that we need a designer to clean things up, and a UXpert to help shape the nav, paths, and presentation choices.
Yet I never got around to bringing someone in, and instead kept my head in the code. A faulty approach.
Over the next week we'll tighten it up, bring in the UXpert and take a design pass. Space, color, timing, proximity, context, semantics, metaphors. Critical stuff, noted in the spec, but not attacked. Tough to do for one full-time person, but it's time to put the code aside until we nail the user experience.
When you're very close to something, it's very hard to see the full picture. It's true in relationships, businesses, jobs, music--anything. That's the way it should be; you're passionate about something and close to it. But let someone else take a look at what you're doing and take their input to heart. It can really make the difference between something universally adopted and accepted and outright rejection.