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RE: [agile-usability] incremental design -vs- overall user experience

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  • helen johnstone
    ... This is what I ve been using for a while. I m now responsible for the user experience of a 10+ year old large-scale software system. Every 2-3 years, it is
    Message 1 of 38 , Jul 14, 2004
      > An effective way around this problem is to draft a navigation
      > architecture (screen flow) in advance based on provisional
      > understanding of user roles and tasks in the application.

      This is what I've been using for a while. I'm now responsible for the user
      experience of a 10+ year old large-scale software system. Every 2-3 years,
      it is revolutionised by adopting new, better technology, and in between, it
      evolves as needed. However, we don't get the time to move all functionality
      forward so currently have 4 major UI technologies; (some of) the original
      green screens, tcl/tk, java and now .NET.

      In order to get my head around how this all hangs together, and how to move
      it forward, I use screen-shots of existing screens and mock-ups of future
      screens. I put these in powerpoint and add workflows for the various
      user/business scenarios that we support. I also show groupings of technology
      - which obviously have a significant impact on the UI style and behaviour,
      as well functional groupings.

      I find it is a great communications tool as well for the rest of the team
      (development, sales, support etc) so they can understand what we've got and
      where it is going for those aspects.

      Best,
      - h
    • katharina9267
      Larry, This is without a doubt an issue that I came across in my experience as a usability manager. Do you suggest that this work should be done in iteration 0
      Message 38 of 38 , May 30, 2007
        Larry,

        This is without a doubt an issue that I came across in my experience
        as a usability manager.

        Do you suggest that this work should be done in iteration 0 using the
        agile methodology? This seems to be increasingly a recommendation in
        a number of white papers and publications such as Scott Ambler.
        However, when you say 'minimal effort' how does this translate into
        time scales - is there an average that you work with in your
        experience let's say 1-2 weeks?

        I also appreciate, if you could forward the pdfs on the collaborative
        UI review method that you mentioned in a previous message.
        Many thanks,
        Katharina

        --- In agile-usability@yahoogroups.com, "Larry Constantine"
        <lconstantine@...> wrote:
        >
        > Jeff,
        >
        > An effective way around this problem is to draft a navigation
        architecture
        > (screen flow) in advance based on provisional understanding of user
        roles
        > and tasks in the application. This architecture gives a reasonably
        well
        > thought out framework on which to hang the features and functions
        as they
        > arise "organically." The navigation architecture is itself reviewed
        and
        > refactored as needed as the details of the application emerge. This
        approach
        > is what I describe as "architecture-first development" in the new
        Cutter
        > Report on agility and usability. It's proven to be a good
        compromise that
        > yields maximal payoff in maintaining a sound UI organization with
        bare
        > minimal upfront investment.
        >
        > --Larry Constantine
        > Chief Scientist | Constantine & Lockwood, Ltd.
        >
        >
        > -----Original Message-----
        > From: Jeff Grigg [mailto:jeffgrigg@...]
        > Sent: Tuesday, 13 July 2004 7:48 PM
        > To: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
        > Subject: [agile-usability] incremental design -vs- overall user
        experience
        >
        > I can't claim to be an expert on user interface design or agile
        > methods, but here's a thought that's been bothering me for a while:
        >
        > It's been my experience that systems that "grow organically" over
        > time often have bad user interfaces. New features are often buried
        > deep within the existing user interface structure, making it hard
        to
        > find. New reports, for example, are added as buttons or menu
        > options deep in the work flow, where they're first needed, but
        *not*
        > made available from higher level menus.
        >
        > I've found that drawing screen flow diagrams of the overall system
        > illustrates these problems and guides redesign of the GUI to make
        > the system more usable.
        >
        > But...
        > How can one avoid this problem in "organically growing" systems?
        >
        > Does the "overall user experience" need to be planned up-front,
        even
        > when functionality is implemented incrementally?
        >
        > As project direction changes during implementation, what triggers
        > you to recognize that the user interface flow needs to be
        redesigned
        > to most effectively support the new business requirements you've
        > discovered?
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > Yahoo! Groups Links
        >
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