Re: [agile-usability] incremental design -vs- overall user experience
- --- Dale Emery <dale@...> wrote:
> XP puts a gives a lot of explicit attention toWho said, "Refactoring users is hard"? I have heard it
> simplicity from
> the developer's point of view, refactoring often to
> simplicity. What if the team had an analogous
> practice that
> attended strongly and explicitly to simplicity from
> the user's
> point of view (refactoring often to maintain
was Martha Lindeman. Maybe her words are only
available in molecular format.
The problem with refactoing a GUI mercilessly is Agile
processes also like to deliver early and often. The
best feedback comes from boosting end-user
But users boost their productivity by bonding with
aspects of a GUI that even usability experts simply
cannot predict. (It would be nice if they bonded with
keystrokes, but today's users abuse the mouse to do
everything, even switch from one edit field to the
So a GUI feature becomes "stable" (in the Robert C
Martin sense of "highly depended on") as more and more
end-users use it. Like it or not, refactoring a GUI
can decrease productivity.
For example, Visual Studio 7 absolutely sucks. My
favorite VS6 keystrokes, such as <Shift+Ctrl+G> to
open text as a file name, no longer work. The
equivalent operation on the Context Menu doesn't work
This is an example of a re-write, not of refactoring.
But MS really slacked off here. I use VS6 without a
technical reason to open VS7.
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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.
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "Larry Constantine"
> An effective way around this problem is to draft a navigation
> (screen flow) in advance based on provisional understanding of userroles
> and tasks in the application. This architecture gives a reasonablywell
> thought out framework on which to hang the features and functionsas they
> arise "organically." The navigation architecture is itself reviewedand
> refactored as needed as the details of the application emerge. Thisapproach
> is what I describe as "architecture-first development" in the newCutter
> Report on agility and usability. It's proven to be a goodcompromise that
> yields maximal payoff in maintaining a sound UI organization withbare
> minimal upfront investment.experience
> --Larry Constantine
> Chief Scientist | Constantine & Lockwood, Ltd.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Jeff Grigg [mailto:jeffgrigg@...]
> Sent: Tuesday, 13 July 2004 7:48 PM
> To: email@example.com
> Subject: [agile-usability] incremental design -vs- overall user
> 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
> find. New reports, for example, are added as buttons or menu*not*
> options deep in the work flow, where they're first needed, but
> made available from higher level menus.even
> 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.
> How can one avoid this problem in "organically growing" systems?
> Does the "overall user experience" need to be planned up-front,
> when functionality is implemented incrementally?redesigned
> As project direction changes during implementation, what triggers
> you to recognize that the user interface flow needs to be
> to most effectively support the new business requirements you've
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