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RE: [agile-usability] Role of Interaction Designers/Usability Specialists

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  • Desilets, Alain
    I was reading some of the earlier postings and was interested in the following ...software developers who have seen projects succeed without specific
    Message 1 of 4 , Mar 17, 2006
      I was reading some of the earlier
      postings and was interested in the following
      "...software developers who have seen projects succeed without
      specific involvement of interaciton designers may question their

      -- Alain:
      This is probably true unfortunately.

      I would like to ask why interaction designers were not heavily
      involved in such projects. Is it because:
      - This was deliberate - to speed up development time with the
      rationale that the full continuum of users cannot be represented anyway
      - Because the speed of develpment time meant that their roles was
      reduced considerabley
      - Streamlining of teams ie their roles has become subsumed into other
      roles - the developer can assume the role of the usability specialist
      as such agile environments neccesitates that team members carry out
      muliple high level roles
      - The projects were very small scale
      - The projects were similar in nature to earlier projects carried out
      by the team so the user requirements were assumed to be the same
      - Sophisticated CASE tools has sidelined the role of the interaction

      -- Alain:
      Most software projects I worked on did not have a usability specialist
      on the team. This was never a conscious well-reasoned decision. Nobody
      sat down and thought, nope, we don't need a usability person on this
      project. Most of the time it was just that managers on the project had
      no idea that usability was hard to achieve, and that usability
      professionals can help.

      THE USERS" . Hasn't this always been the case with user centred design
      methods. Or does that phrase mean that the interaction designer should
      assume the role of the user? I'm not altogether sure what is meant by
      this phrase. I'm sure there's a deep high level meaning that I'm just
      not getting.

      -- Alain:
      Not sure what the original author of this quote meant, but one way to
      interpret it is that while the usability specialist can and should
      represent the user, he might not be in a position to represent the
      customer, i.e. the person or organisation that comissioned the work and
      is ultimately paying for it. Customers want the software to be usable to
      its end users (in order to derive revenues from selling it, or, in the
      case of software to be used in-house, to make their own operation more
      efficient somehow). But that is but one of the criteria by which they
      will evaluate the success of the project (cost and time behing two of
      the obvious other ones).

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