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7097Re: [agile-usability] Agile ux = zero or miminal upfront prototyping work?

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  • William Pietri
    Mar 24, 2010
      On 03/24/2010 02:54 AM, samfmsutton wrote:
      I'm a designer based in a developer heavy web development company. We started moving towards agile over the last year or so. 
      One argument I'm facing at the moment is that wireframes etc seem like bureaucracy that gets in the way of writing stories and implementing them. 
      I can understand that, although I'm not strict about this, and we have had really useful, positive discussions about decisions when we had wireframes to guide us.
      But what do you think? Is it better just to write stories, put live code out there and test the results and then refine, or have you had positive benefits from using wireframes or just basic mockups to think about the functionality beforehand?   

      I think there are three separate questions here:

      1. What do you, as a designer, need to do personally to think through an interface?
      2. What are the most efficient ways for your team to meet and design things together?
      3. What's the most efficient way to get a good experience to users?

      I don't think there's a general-case answer to these: you're looking for the intersection of individual variation, team variation, and minimum waste. To me, the only way to find that is to be continually tinkering with your process, seeing how little you can get away with and still produce great work.

      So if I were in your shoes, there are some things I'd start discussions on:

      • Is everybody happy with the kind of products your team is turning out?
      • Does the team really iterate on things until they get to the right level of quality?
      • In what situations can some up-front thinking save your team time?
      • How can the team conduct experiments to settle questions like this?

      Really, this could go either way. I've seen teams waste a lot of time and money by going off half-cocked. I've also seen immense waste from too much design time and expensive design artifacts. Developers are prone to the former mistake; designers, the latter. It's only when you have a whole team working together that you can find the local optimum.

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