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1077RE: [agile-usability] Re: Craftmanship doesn't scale... hence usability?

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  • Larry Constantine
    Feb 25, 2005
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      Alain 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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