RE: [agile-usability] Re: FUBU
- 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 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
- --- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "Desilets, Alain"
> Maybe what you mean by "ability to empathise" you really mean "abilityYes, that's exactly what I mean :-)
> 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 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.
- 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.
No worries. My buttons are pretty easy to push when it comes to
stereotypes about developpers.
> I think if you have written good FUBU software, you might beable 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.
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. ;-) ]
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
- ...and I thought I did a good job...