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7099Re: [agile-usability] Agile ux = zero or miminal upfront prototyping work?

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  • Paul Spencer
    Mar 24, 2010
      Hi Sam,

      We typical create mockups (wireframes) during Sprint 0.  This helps us to understand the flow of the application and to iron out any issues ahead of time.  It is also an important part of designing a more usable system.  If you are looking at your application from a UX stand point the mockups are what you would use to test the usability of your design. Once a release has been made you can then test usability of the real system and create new mockups for the developers based on the feedback and results.  A good portion of our stories will have a mockup attachment as a point of reference for the developers.  We treat mockups as part of the iterative development cycle.  If we need to test the usability in an area or have new screens to think about then we create a mockup.

      Remember that you aren't interested in creating a mockup for every possible screen in the application in Sprint 0.  You are only looking to explore the high priority stories and to get an understanding of the basic flow of the system.  This should not evolve into a Big Design Up Front step.  It's something that will take practice and you will know when you are spending too much time on something.  Once you have a few screens and the basic idea of the system ready to go then the team should get started.

      From a developers perspective the mockups give them a good idea of what is expected and really helps them to get moving faster rather than designing or creating the page as they go.  If you already have the resources to create the mockups then I would suggest to go ahead and create them.  Agile promotes the idea of doing exactly what is needed and to not waste time on writing documentation that will never be used or kept up to date but I would not consider mockups to be useless documentation.

      Hope that helps.

      - Paul

      Paul Spencer
      Agile Software Development, UX Consultant

      On Wed, Mar 24, 2010 at 5:54 AM, samfmsutton <sam.superdeluxe@...> 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?


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