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3748Re: [agile-usability] Re: New Member Introduction - Jim Jarrett, Usability Manager, Rockwell Automatio

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  • John Schrag
    Oct 22, 2007
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      On 22-Oct-07, at 7:43 AM, Adrian Howard wrote:
      > UX skills are certainly great to have in the Customer role. Whether 
      > that makes a UX person the ideal Customer I'm less certain. No matter 
      > how much time we spend with the client there are always elements of 
      the business that they will know better than us.

      I agree with you on that, and I'm all in favour of lots of contact between the whole team
      and the end users.  My claim is that the UX person, working with (hopefully multiple) end
      users should be better able to collect and communicate this knowledge.  On a number
      of occasions I've done comparitive notes where I first get a user to tell me about their 
      work, then observed them doing the work.  The observation would always reveal all kinds
      of things that the user didn't tell me about, either because they didn't notice it themselves,
      or because they thought it so obvious or unimportant that it didn't require mention.  I tend to
      think of it as an architect designing a house for a plumber --- the plumber will be heavily
      involved, and will have final say, but it's still best to let the architect to actually do the
      designing.

      I wrote:
      > And since developers are notoriously bad at caring ("The feature
      > works. if the user can't figure it out, he's an idiot."), a very
      > good way to deal with this is to ensure the UI designs are usable
      > before the developers even start working on them. We achieved this
      > by designing, prototyping, and conducting formative usability
      > testing one cycle in advance.

      Adrian replied:
      I personally think that that stereotype of developers is unfair - and
      mostly due to the development environment they're placed in. Working 
      in a more agile environment that values meeting the users needs kills 
      that attitude dead.

      Developers really want to make great products - honest :)


      You are, of course, correct, and wet noodles to me.  (I used to be a developer
      myself.)  Developers in many circumstances are enouraged to not care by
      environments that strongly reward getting features "done" and that do not 
      reward making features good.  (In fact, taking extra care to make features good
      can be considered a bad thing.)  Another reason to make sure the usability
      goals are part of the feature criteria.

      -john



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