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1017Re: [agile-usability] user centered design overlaps with traditional analysis?

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  • Kay Burnett
    Feb 2, 2005
      I didn't really follow my own train of thought when I started out the paragraph below. I wanted to comment on the different approaches that a UC designer and a traditional analyst may have to a project -- not to say that it has to be this way but this IME (in my experience) has been the reality -- per the original note of this subject.
       
      A User Centered Designer approaches the beginning of a project wanting to know about the users, the audience, the people who are the target and others who may be incidental users of a product. They want to understand the needs, the desires, the tasks, activities, environments, objects and other people that this person will interact with in the course of their use of the product. IME, the traditional analyst assumes a product and wants to start by defining features and functions which makes me uncomfortable until I can know something about the people involved. Once the effort gets underway, there is overlap in the analysis of available information. It is just that the starting places are different -- and this, in the long run, is a BIG difference.

      Kay Burnett <kayburnett2002@...> wrote:
      The best convergence of analyst and designer came from a conversation at UPA 2004 during the /what are they called/ poster sessions.
      Kay Burnett
      Information Architect
      Dearborn

      Jeff Patton <jpatton@...> wrote:

      I've been making the assertion over the last couple months that what
      traditional analysts are doing overlaps to a large degree with what
      UCD folks do.  I'd be curious if others agree.

      On my current project we have super user/analysts - folks that were
      strong users that are now being coached by a super-analyst to write
      XP type stories.  We've also got a few UCD/UI design/usability
      people.  There's a strained collaboration between these two groups. 
      Both seem to have the goal of describing a piece of software that
      best addresses user needs.  But, they have different backgrounds, use
      different approaches, and often come up with different solutions. 
      They know they have something to offer each other, but are having
      trouble coming up with common language to do so.  [I sometimes wonder
      whether the Meyers-Briggs scores for these two groups will ever allow
      them to communicate effectively... ;-) ]

      I spent a bit of time with Alistair Cockburn over last week trying to
      draw lines between use cases [and the techniques surrounding their
      use] and the hodge-podge of UCD stuff I'm doing.  User profiles look
      like elaborated on actors.  Actor-goal lists look like Constantine-
      style user roles - or possibly summary level use cases.  User tasks
      look like "sea level" use cases.  Where my UCD stuff emphasizes
      information about the user and their context of use, Use Cases excel
      at putting pressure on workflow variations - the ones that point out
      exceptions in business rules and approaches to failures in tasks -
      stuff I often don't spend much time thinking about.  In short
      strokes, I'm seeing a fair bit of conceptual overlap between
      information covered in use case stuff, and information I try to
      contain in other types of UCD models.  The information is just
      expressed differently. 

      I sense that this is the challenge that UCD people often have
      integrating what they do into organizations with traditional
      requirements gathering analysts.  Can anyone listening in speak to
      that?

      And, can anyone draw some correlation between traditional analysis
      artifacts and UCD models?

      And finally, can anyone tell any stories about how they've
      effectively [or ineffectively] combined analysts and UCD people?

      thanks,

      -Jeff







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