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1084RE: [agile-usability] Re: Craftmanship doesn't scale... hence usa bility?

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  • Thyra Rauch
    Feb 25, 2005

      I've got a couple minutes here while waiting for my next flight, so I'll chime in on this one as it's near and dear to my heart.  Responding to Alain's comments below:

      < But in my experience, developpers CAN intercept MANY important usability

      issues, especially if, as you propose in (2), they do more than "play around"
      with the system and try to carry out realistic tasks (which could be crafted
      by a usability expert).>

      Absolutely!  Bringing the realistic tasks back from my interactions with customers is one of the critical things I can do.  And my development team is outstanding at intercepting a lot of usability issues as they contructing the product and putting the pieces together.

      < 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. It educates the whole team about usability issues. After
      a while, I bet you would find developpers:
      (a) Truly valuing usability (now wouldn't THAT be nice).>

      Yes, because it's really not about "usability" the way some folks think about it -- e.g., radio buttons or entry field placement.  It's about the total user experience and trying to bring value and return on investment back to the customer.  If they cannot use your product or do not find it valuable, they will not use it, and we all pay the price for that.

      < (c) Independantly making good design decisions for minor things (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

      And with my limited time and resource, I'm thrilled to have a whole team of folks being extended eyes and ears so we don't miss things.

      < 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.>

      It's not threatening to me in the slightest.  I welcome and embrace the input and involvement of my development team.  In return, I have more time to spend on solution-level integration issues and being a key contact to the customers.  Being a "usability police" has never sat well with me and tends to bring alienation rather than respect.  Understanding all issues including the customer's viewpoint, the needs of the business, and the limitations of the code and schedule, as well as rolling your sleeves up and assisting them when necessary buy a lot more respect.

      Customer Research Architect
      WebSphere Information Integration and Search
      Phone:  408-463-2465

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