The audience for spreadsheet applications

The remaining segments in the preceding table comprise spreadsheet end users, whom you can think of as the consumers of spreadsheet applications. When you develop a spreadsheet application for others to use, you need to know which of these groups of people will actually be using your application.

Users with little experience and no interest in learning more about spreadsheets make up a large percentage of all spreadsheet users, probably the largest group of all. These are the people who need to use a spreadsheet for their jobs but who view the spreadsheet simply as a means to an end. Typically, they know very little about computers and software, and they usually have no interest in learning anything more than what's required to get their work done. They might even feel a bit intimidated by computers. Often, these users don't even know which version of Excel they use, and they are largely unfamiliar with what it can do. Obviously, applications developed for this group must be user-friendly. By that I mean straightforward, unintimidating, easy to use, and as foolproof as possible.

From the developer's point of view, a more interesting group is comprised of users who have little or moderate spreadsheet experience but who are interested in learning more. These users understand the concept of formulas, use worksheet functions, and generally have a good idea of what the product is capable of doing. These users generally appreciate the work that you put into an application and are often impressed by your efforts. Even better, they'll often make excellent suggestions for improving your applications. Applications developed for this group should also be user-friendly, but they can also be more complex and customizable than applications designed for the less experienced and less interested groups.

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