1077RE: [agile-usability] Re: Craftmanship doesn't scale... hence usability?
- Feb 25, 2005Alain wrote:
"The point I was trying to make is that I believe there is a lot of value in
having the development team as a whole be actively involed in usability
design and testing."
I couldn't agree more. Usability needs to be everybody's job. I can
absolutely attest that the long-term benefits you identify are real.
"(as a usability expert, wouldn't you prefer to spend more of your time on
the big picture instead of whether a list should be a pick list or a series
of radio buttons?)....This may sound threatening to usability experts but
it's not. Basically it means that their role would move from being the
Usability Police to being a Usability Coach and Partner."
I don't think many usability experts would be threatened by something that
makes their jobs easier. Admittedly, there are those who believe that their
craft is so high-level and sophisticated that "mere" developers could not
learn it, but I am not one of those. Indeed, I early earned the disfavor of
some parts of the UI/Ux community for teaching programmers interaction
design principles and techniques.
That said, for my part, I see usability as involving interactions between
the big picture and the myriad miniscule details. I consider it part of my
job as designer to specify widget choice if it matters, which it often does,
and that means I have to think about whether it matters in each given
situation. On the other hand, there is never time to specify everything, and
if I am working with sophisticated developers who understand the tradeoffs,
I am a lot more comfortable trusting the details to them.
Another technique for enhancing developer awareness of and ability to
contribute to usability is collaborative usability inspections, a formal
peer review technique. A new article on the subject just appeared
(http://www.cutter.com/offers/peerreviews.html) and an in-depth treatment is
also on the Web (http://www.foruse.com/articles/inspections2003.pdf).
--Larry Constantine, IDSA
Chief Scientist | Constantine & Lockwood Ltd | www.foruse.com
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