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Re: FUBU

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  • Dave Churchville
    ... Well, I agree that the environment is a necessary condition, but I don t think it s sufficient. Again, this may be limited to my own experience, but having
    Message 1 of 13 , Feb 16, 2006
      --- In agile-usability@yahoogroups.com, "Desilets, Alain"
      <alain.desilets@...> wrote:
      > Most of the programmers I meet that work in an agile environment where
      > they are directly exposed to the end user and the customer are pretty
      > good at empathising with them and understanding user needs. So I think
      > the reason why so many programmers behave differently is due to the
      > environment they work in, not to an inherent inability to empathise.


      Well, I agree that the environment is a necessary condition, but I
      don't think it's sufficient. Again, this may be limited to my own
      experience, but having worked with many different types of developers
      in varied environments over 15 years or so, my perspective is that
      there's more to it than just default empathy. (Note: I am a developer
      myself, and notwithstanding some bright moments, I have suffered from
      this problem as well).

      In fact, what has happened is that many people *believe* they are
      empathizing, and they certainly do want to help the user - it's that
      for some reason they are unable to truly see the goals of the user.

      In other words, to take your example of Joe who has 10 kids, I might
      empathize with that, and say, I really want to help Joe, let's build
      an automatic diaper changer.

      In reality, Joe's main goal is to have some alone time once in a
      while, so he'd really like a babysitter.

      So empathy and understanding may not be equivalent here. I don't know
      how else to explain this, it's just my experience. Sounds like you've
      had more luck.

      --Dave

      Dave Churchville
      http://www.extremeplanner.com
    • Desilets, Alain
      In fact, what has happened is that many people *believe* they are empathizing, and they certainly do want to help the user - it s that for some reason they are
      Message 2 of 13 , Feb 16, 2006
        In fact, what has happened is that many people *believe* they are
        empathizing, and they certainly do want to help the user - it's that for
        some reason they are unable to truly see the goals of the user.

        In other words, to take your example of Joe who has 10 kids, I might
        empathize with that, and say, I really want to help Joe, let's build an
        automatic diaper changer.

        -- Alain:
        In an XP Environment, Joe would tell the developper that what he really
        needs someone to babysit his kids while he takes some time off. So the
        developper would never end up building an automatic diaper changer. He
        might think that building an automatic diaper changer would be more fun
        than babysitting, but by agreeing to work on an XP team he has accepted
        the customer's bill of rights that says the customer gets to decide
        exactly what gets built.

        Maybe what you mean by "ability to empathise" you really mean "ability
        to see the forest for the tree and interpret what the customer/user says
        and come up with innovative designs that address their core needs". If
        so, I would agree that this is a skill that UI types of people are more
        likely to possess. But even there, that stereotype is not as strong as
        you might think. I know LOTS of UI types who CAN'T see the forest for
        the trees and who get bogged down in details like wording of dialogs,
        colors, positioning etc... (and those guys aren't all "developper turned
        UI-guy by accident" types). And I also know LOTS of developpers
        (especially in the agile world) who are very good at seeing the forest
        and coming up with the
        SimplestThingThatCouldPossiblyAddressTheUser'sCoreNeeds.
        ----
      • Dave Churchville
        ... Yes, that s exactly what I mean :-) But I wasn t making a statement that UI people are better at this than developers as a rule. Or that developers are
        Message 3 of 13 , Feb 16, 2006
          --- In agile-usability@yahoogroups.com, "Desilets, Alain"
          <alain.desilets@...> wrote:
          > Maybe what you mean by "ability to empathise" you really mean "ability
          > to see the forest for the tree and interpret what the customer/user says
          > and come up with innovative designs that address their core needs". If
          > so, I would agree that this is a skill that UI types of people are more
          > likely to possess.

          Yes, that's exactly what I mean :-)

          But I wasn't making a statement that "UI people" are better at this
          than developers as a rule. Or that developers are universally bad at it.

          Rather, I think this is a relatively rare skill, in any discipline.

          Granted, an agile team is less likely to *overbuild* something
          suboptimal, and with frequent iteration and feedback may come up with
          a good solution over time. Again, I'm mainly talking about user
          interfaces and interactions.

          For example, as a long time agile practitioner, I think I've gotten
          pretty good at "forest vision", and been able to come up with simple,
          effective designs to solve core user needs.

          But I'm still amazed when I run across someone who has a gift for this
          kind of thinking, and can come up with a variety of alternatives, each
          of which is easily as good as mine at solving the problem.

          Again, I just think that's rare. Doesn't mean my solutions aren't
          "good enough", but there's another level possible.

          --Dave

          Dave Churchville
          http://www.extremeplanner.com
        • Desilets, Alain
          But I wasn t making a statement that UI people are better at this than developers as a rule. Or that developers are universally bad at it. -- Alain: No
          Message 4 of 13 , Feb 16, 2006
            But I wasn't making a statement that "UI people" are better at this than
            developers as a rule. Or that developers are universally bad at it.

            -- Alain:
            No worries. My buttons are pretty easy to push when it comes to
            stereotypes about developpers.
            ----
          • Jon Kern
            ... able to ... I am not so sure... (except for the might part) I would surmise the reason FUBU is easy for technical products is because of the intense
            Message 5 of 13 , Feb 17, 2006
              > I think if you have written good FUBU software, you might be
              able to
              >write decent FOBU (For Others, By Us) software also, because you are

              I am not so sure... (except for the "might" part)

              I would surmise the reason FUBU is easy for technical products is because of the intense familiarity with
                  - the domain
                  - the user tasks
                  - the end user needs

              Having worked with the brilliant TogetherSoft development team, the tool was FUBU in the early days and very well done.

              As the feature list expanded to strange things like EJBs, the usability began to wane. The developers read the J2EE specs and technically did things correctly. But, since they had no idea what a J2EE developer needed -- though they expected they knew what was needed, this part of the tool fell short.
              -- jon
              
              


              Desilets, Alain said the following on 2/15/2006 3:54 PM:
              So, what's my point?  I have none - at least no big point.  Just
              these observations: developers often design good software for
              developers: FUBU.  Other often design pretty good software for their
              own use: FUBU.  Doing so can lead one to the false sense of belief
              that design is easy - and you can do it for anyone, or anyone else
              can do it for themselves: self-centered design.

              comments invited, and thanks for listening/reading. 
              [I really should get a blog and stop using this list as one.  ;-) ]

              -- Alain:
              I think if you have written good FUBU software, you might be able to
              write decent FOBU (For Others, By Us) software also, because you are
              already in the right frame of mind. In other words, you paid a lot of
              attention to yourself as an end user, so you will probably pay
              atttention to those Others as end users. In my view, once your whole
              team has assimilated the "pay attention to the end user" mentra, you are
              80% of the way there.

              Of course, a pitfall is that the developpers might not realise that
              these Other users are not like them... That's the "you are not the user
              (although you may be like them in many respects)" mentra. But I would
              think that this second mentra comes easily once you have assimilated the
              first one.
              ----
            • Jon Kern
              ...and I thought I did a good job... http://blogs.compuware.com/cs/blogs/jkern/archive/2006/02/23/mastering_a_skill.aspx -- jon
              Message 6 of 13 , Feb 24, 2006
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