Classifying spreadsheet users

Over the years, I've found that it's often useful to classify people who use spreadsheets (including both developers and end users) along two dimensions: their degree of experience with spreadsheets and their interest in learning about spreadsheets.

To keep things simple, each of these two dimensions has three levels. These levels can be combined in nine combinations, which are shown in Table 5-1. In reality, only seven segments are worth thinking about because both moderately experienced and very experienced spreadsheet users generally have at least some interest in spreadsheets. (After all, that's what motivated them to get their experience.) Users who have a lot of spreadsheet experience and a low level of interest would make very bad developers.

Table 5-1: CLASSIFICATION OF SPREADSHEET USERS BY EXPERIENCE AND INTEREST

^ Open table as spreadsheet

Table 5-1: CLASSIFICATION OF SPREADSHEET USERS BY EXPERIENCE AND INTEREST

^ Open table as spreadsheet

No Interest

Moderately Interested

Very Interested

Little Experience

User

User

User/Potential Developer

Moderately Experienced

N/A

User

Developer

Very Experienced

N/A

User

Developer

It should be clear that spreadsheet developers must have a great deal of experience with spreadsheets as well as a high interest in spreadsheets. Those with little spreadsheet experience but a great deal of interest are potential developers. All they need is more experience. If you're reading this book, you probably fall into one of the boxes in the last column of the table.

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