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Re: Abuse of Usage

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  • Dave Churchville
    ... place ... Unfortunately, ... Someone once told me that if there aren t people who both love your work and hate it, you aren t making much of an impact.
    Message 1 of 12 , Apr 4, 2006
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      --- In agile-usability@yahoogroups.com, "Larry Constantine"
      <lconstantine@...> wrote:
      > Which brings me to the subtext of my message. I contribute to this forum
      > because it is a genuine dialogue, open and fair, with diverse views and
      > strong opinions, but without malice and minimal misrepresentation, a
      place
      > where misunderstandings are quickly countered and corrected.
      Unfortunately,
      > the blogosphere is something different.

      Someone once told me that if there aren't people who both love your
      work and hate it, you aren't making much of an impact.

      Truth is always a lightning rod for both positive and negative
      reactions, think of this as a compliment.

      Of course, inaccurate, offensive attacks on your work aren't fun, but
      on the bright side, this might actually boost your book sales ;-)

      Please keep doing what you're doing, I for one, find it both relevant
      and useful.

      --Dave

      David Churchville
      ExtremePlanner Software
      http://www.extremeplanner.com
    • Phlip
      ... Luxury. I used to hang awake at night, dreeeaming that a blogger somewhere would write a screed misrepresenting my views. -- Phlip
      Message 2 of 12 , Apr 4, 2006
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        Larry Constantine wrote:

        > Toward the end of a screed misrepresenting then attacking my
        > views and
        > methods, Michael Andrews, a blogger in New Zealand adds:

        Luxury. I used to hang awake at night, dreeeaming that a blogger
        somewhere would write a screed misrepresenting my views.

        --
        Phlip
        http://www.greencheese.org/ZeekLand <-- NOT a blog!!
      • Rob Keefer
        Larry, When people spout off like this it reminds me of a point that Scott Adams (author of Dilbert) makes quite often on his blog: When people misrepresent
        Message 3 of 12 , Apr 4, 2006
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          Larry,
           
          When people spout off like this it reminds me of a point that Scott Adams (author of Dilbert) makes quite often on his blog: "When people misrepresent the views of their opposition, and attack the misrepresentation, they lose all credibility with me." (see http://dilbertblog.typepad.com/the_dilbert_blog/2005/11/intelligent_des_1.html)

          Unfortunately, you are not an "entertainer" as Scott Adams is, and haven't said things just to provoke people who like to misrepresent your views. However, as has already been pointed out, you are fortunate enough to have written something that provoked someone enough to misrepresent you, and for that you should be glad.
           
          - Rob
           

          ----- Original Message ----
          From: Larry Constantine <lconstantine@...>
          To: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
          Sent: Tuesday, April 4, 2006 1:02:17 PM
          Subject: [agile-usability] Abuse of Usage

          Toward the end of a screed misrepresenting then attacking my views and
          methods, Michael Andrews, a blogger in New Zealand adds:

          "I focus on Constantine's views in particular because for many people in the
          agile programming world, he is the face of usability. [Disclosure: I've
          never met Constantine or even know anyone who has. My criticisms of are the
          methods he advocates, not of him as a person.] Constantine is a major writer
          on the Yahoo agile usability list, a list more dominated by programmers than
          usability professionals. The people-free "usability solution" offered by
          usage centered design is no doubt appealing to some programmers. But if
          agile programmers are going to learn what usability is about, they need to
          get a representative presentation of usability, especially the importance of
          user testing."

          I doubt I am "the face of usability." As regulars on this forum know, I am
          actually only one occasional contributor to what is a broad and open
          community with diverse opinions. My posting here is to reiterate for the
          record so this community remains clear about what my opinions actually are.

          It is both unfair and incorrect to write that "Constantine fashions himself
          as a usability expert, but he dismisses what 99% of other usability experts
          consider the foundation of usability: usability testing." I do not dismiss
          it, nor am I a "critic of usability testing." I have questioned the
          over-reliance on testing, particularly when it is to the exclusion of better
          up-front design based on understanding of real user needs, and I have
          documented some of the little acknowledged downsides of usability testing,
          which might put me in a minority but does not make me wrong. Neither do I
          reject testing as "too expensive and inefficient."

          In a nutshell this has been and remains my position: Usability testing is
          always a good idea. The better your design is the less user testing will be
          needed to achieve a given degree of usability. Depending primarily on
          usability testing alone to find problems is more expensive and less
          efficient than combining it with other approaches, such as, collaborative
          usability inspections, which Andrew dismisses as "more people chatting while
          sitting around a conference table." (Those of you who have participated in
          one of our usability inspections know it is a highly structured review with
          assigned roles, formal definitions, and strict rules, one of which prohibits
          "chatting.")

          I suppose I should not take it too personally, since he misunderstands and
          slights agile methods and programmers too, but I do, particularly when he
          wrongly attacks and attributes to me individually the book co-authored with
          Lucy Lockwood. Yes, we did cite a lot of our own work, because at that time
          much of the most relevant work was ours, but then, too, we had far more
          citations to others. And, yes, we did not devote many pages to
          testing--because we were writing a book about DESIGN not testing. A check of
          any book about usability testing will reveal not a lot said about design.

          Which brings me to the subtext of my message. I contribute to this forum
          because it is a genuine dialogue, open and fair, with diverse views and
          strong opinions, but without malice and minimal misrepresentation, a place
          where misunderstandings are quickly countered and corrected. Unfortunately,
          the blogosphere is something different. 


          --Larry Constantine, IDSA
            Director, Lab-USE - The Laboratory for Usage-centered Software Engineering
            University of Madeira, Funchal, Portugal

        • Phlip
          ... There are blog entries out there that accuse Dilbert of being a tool of the Man - of encouraging complancency. Gotta love that bloggosphere! -- Phlip
          Message 4 of 12 , Apr 4, 2006
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            Rob Keefer wrote:

            > When people spout off like this it reminds me of
            > a point that Scott Adams (author of Dilbert) makes
            > quite often on his blog

            There are blog entries out there that accuse Dilbert of being a tool
            of the Man - of encouraging complancency.

            Gotta love that bloggosphere!

            --
            Phlip
            http://www.greencheese.org/ZeekLand <-- NOT a blog!!
          • Jared M. Spool
            ... I wonder which body part I am? Jared Jared M. Spool, Founding Principal, User Interface Engineering 4 Lookout Lane, Unit 4d, Middleton, MA 01949 978
            Message 5 of 12 , Apr 5, 2006
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              At 01:02 PM 4/4/2006, you wrote:
              >I doubt I am "the face of usability."

              I wonder which body part I am?

              Jared


              Jared M. Spool, Founding Principal, User Interface Engineering
              4 Lookout Lane, Unit 4d, Middleton, MA 01949
              978 777-9123 jspool@... http://www.uie.com
              Blog: http://www.uie.com/brainsparks
            • Tim Wright
              On behalf of the Wellingtonians in New Zealand (where Mike is based) who have met you and do understand Usage-Centered Design (I taught it at the University in
              Message 6 of 12 , Apr 6, 2006
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                On behalf of the Wellingtonians in New Zealand (where Mike is based) who have met you and do understand Usage-Centered Design (I taught it at the University in Wellington for a couple of years), sorry. Some of us do understand Usage-Centered Design and think it is fantastic.

                I am still a *big* advocate of user-testing, especially in organisations who are unwilling to change their design process - I have found that in my current organisation (large government department) it is the politics of process ownership that get in the way of any consistent methodology. Perhaps I'll write a paper about this one day.

                Dr Tim Wright


                On 4/5/06, Larry Constantine <lconstantine@...> wrote:
                Toward the end of a screed misrepresenting then attacking my views and
                methods, Michael Andrews, a blogger in New Zealand adds:

                "I focus on Constantine's views in particular because for many people in the
                agile programming world, he is the face of usability. [Disclosure: I've
                never met Constantine or even know anyone who has. My criticisms of are the
                methods he advocates, not of him as a person.] Constantine is a major writer
                on the Yahoo agile usability list, a list more dominated by programmers than
                usability professionals. The people-free "usability solution" offered by
                usage centered design is no doubt appealing to some programmers. But if
                agile programmers are going to learn what usability is about, they need to
                get a representative presentation of usability, especially the importance of
                user testing."

                I doubt I am "the face of usability." As regulars on this forum know, I am
                actually only one occasional contributor to what is a broad and open
                community with diverse opinions. My posting here is to reiterate for the
                record so this community remains clear about what my opinions actually are.

                It is both unfair and incorrect to write that "Constantine fashions himself
                as a usability expert, but he dismisses what 99% of other usability experts
                consider the foundation of usability: usability testing." I do not dismiss
                it, nor am I a "critic of usability testing." I have questioned the
                over-reliance on testing, particularly when it is to the exclusion of better
                up-front design based on understanding of real user needs, and I have
                documented some of the little acknowledged downsides of usability testing,
                which might put me in a minority but does not make me wrong. Neither do I
                reject testing as "too expensive and inefficient."

                In a nutshell this has been and remains my position: Usability testing is
                always a good idea. The better your design is the less user testing will be
                needed to achieve a given degree of usability. Depending primarily on
                usability testing alone to find problems is more expensive and less
                efficient than combining it with other approaches, such as, collaborative
                usability inspections, which Andrew dismisses as "more people chatting while
                sitting around a conference table." (Those of you who have participated in
                one of our usability inspections know it is a highly structured review with
                assigned roles, formal definitions, and strict rules, one of which prohibits
                "chatting.")

                I suppose I should not take it too personally, since he misunderstands and
                slights agile methods and programmers too, but I do, particularly when he
                wrongly attacks and attributes to me individually the book co-authored with
                Lucy Lockwood. Yes, we did cite a lot of our own work, because at that time
                much of the most relevant work was ours, but then, too, we had far more
                citations to others. And, yes, we did not devote many pages to
                testing--because we were writing a book about DESIGN not testing. A check of
                any book about usability testing will reveal not a lot said about design.

                Which brings me to the subtext of my message. I contribute to this forum
                because it is a genuine dialogue, open and fair, with diverse views and
                strong opinions, but without malice and minimal misrepresentation, a place
                where misunderstandings are quickly countered and corrected. Unfortunately,
                the blogosphere is something different. 


                --Larry Constantine, IDSA
                  Director, Lab-USE - The Laboratory for Usage-centered Software Engineering
                  University of Madeira, Funchal, Portugal



                YAHOO! GROUPS LINKS






                --
                Kei te kōrero tiki au. Kei te kōrero tiki koe. Ka kōrero tiki tāua. Kōrero ai tiki tāua.
              • William Pietri
                Hi, Larry. ... I haven t seen his blog, but I wouldn t sweat it. My impression of your views is basically what you state. And as the guy who may be
                Message 7 of 12 , Apr 6, 2006
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                  Hi, Larry.

                  Larry Constantine wrote:
                  > Toward the end of a screed misrepresenting then attacking my views and
                  > methods, Michael Andrews, a blogger in New Zealand [...]
                  >
                  > In a nutshell this has been and remains my position: Usability testing is
                  > always a good idea. The better your design is the less user testing will be
                  > needed to achieve a given degree of usability. [...]
                  >
                  > I suppose I should not take it too personally [...] I contribute to this forum
                  > because it is a genuine dialogue, open and fair [...] Unfortunately,
                  > the blogosphere is something different.

                  I haven't seen his blog, but I wouldn't sweat it. My impression of your
                  views is basically what you state. And as the guy who may be
                  single-handedly responsible for the apparent overrepresentation of
                  developers here, hopefully I'm a good proxy for the view of an outsider,
                  somebody who's interest in usability is pragmatic rather than a chosen
                  career.

                  As you say, the different media can suit different purposes. Given that
                  the fellow has posted here exactly once, it's hard for me to take him
                  particularly seriously. If he had wanted to understand, he could have
                  asked questions or started a discussion. I gather his purpose was
                  instead to rant. When dogs howl at the moon, it's never clear to me how
                  much the moon is the problem.

                  William
                • Larry Constantine
                  Thanks for the support over the years, Tim. I actually know Wellington well as a repository of smart people who get it and don t go around misrepresenting
                  Message 8 of 12 , Apr 7, 2006
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                    Thanks for the support over the years, Tim. I actually know Wellington well
                    as a repository of smart people who "get it" and don't go around
                    misrepresenting things.

                    Tim wrote:
                    =====
                    I am still a *big* advocate of user-testing, especially in organisations who
                    are unwilling to change their design process - I have found that in my
                    current organisation (large government department) it is the politics of
                    process ownership that get in the way of any consistent methodology. Perhaps
                    I'll write a paper about this one day.
                    =====

                    Very good point. Do write that paper--maybe sooner than someday. If a group
                    does nothing else, they should at least do user testing. Ironically, I
                    frequently find myself the strong advocate of testing with organizations
                    that are unwilling to budget for it. I may be a great designer, but it gives
                    me the willies to think of software being released without at least
                    selective user testing.

                    --Larry Constantine, IDSA
                    Director, Lab-USE - The Laboratory for Usage-centered Software Engineering
                    Professor, Department of Mathematics and Engineering
                    University of Madeira, Funchal, Portugal
                    Chief Scientist | Constantine & Lockwood Ltd | www.foruse.com
                    58 Kathleen Circle | Rowley, MA 01969
                    t: +1 978.948.5012 | f: +1 978.948.5036


                    ________________________________________
                    From: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
                    [mailto:agile-usability@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Tim Wright
                    Sent: Thursday, April 06, 2006 1:13 PM
                    To: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
                    Subject: Re: [agile-usability] Abuse of Usage


                    On behalf of the Wellingtonians in New Zealand (where Mike is based) who
                    have met you and do understand Usage-Centered Design (I taught it at the
                    University in Wellington for a couple of years), sorry. Some of us do
                    understand Usage-Centered Design and think it is fantastic.

                    I am still a *big* advocate of user-testing, especially in organisations who
                    are unwilling to change their design process - I have found that in my
                    current organisation (large government department) it is the politics of
                    process ownership that get in the way of any consistent methodology. Perhaps
                    I'll write a paper about this one day.

                    Dr Tim Wright

                    On 4/5/06, Larry Constantine <lconstantine@...> wrote:
                    Toward the end of a screed misrepresenting then attacking my views and
                    methods, Michael Andrews, a blogger in New Zealand adds:

                    "I focus on Constantine's views in particular because for many people in the
                    agile programming world, he is the face of usability. [Disclosure: I've
                    never met Constantine or even know anyone who has. My criticisms of are the
                    methods he advocates, not of him as a person.] Constantine is a major writer
                    on the Yahoo agile usability list, a list more dominated by programmers than
                    usability professionals. The people-free "usability solution" offered by
                    usage centered design is no doubt appealing to some programmers. But if
                    agile programmers are going to learn what usability is about, they need to
                    get a representative presentation of usability, especially the importance of
                    user testing."

                    I doubt I am "the face of usability." As regulars on this forum know, I am
                    actually only one occasional contributor to what is a broad and open
                    community with diverse opinions. My posting here is to reiterate for the
                    record so this community remains clear about what my opinions actually are.

                    It is both unfair and incorrect to write that "Constantine fashions himself
                    as a usability expert, but he dismisses what 99% of other usability experts
                    consider the foundation of usability: usability testing." I do not dismiss
                    it, nor am I a "critic of usability testing." I have questioned the
                    over-reliance on testing, particularly when it is to the exclusion of better
                    up-front design based on understanding of real user needs, and I have
                    documented some of the little acknowledged downsides of usability testing,
                    which might put me in a minority but does not make me wrong. Neither do I
                    reject testing as "too expensive and inefficient."

                    In a nutshell this has been and remains my position: Usability testing is
                    always a good idea. The better your design is the less user testing will be
                    needed to achieve a given degree of usability. Depending primarily on
                    usability testing alone to find problems is more expensive and less
                    efficient than combining it with other approaches, such as, collaborative
                    usability inspections, which Andrew dismisses as "more people chatting while
                    sitting around a conference table." (Those of you who have participated in
                    one of our usability inspections know it is a highly structured review with
                    assigned roles, formal definitions, and strict rules, one of which prohibits
                    "chatting.")

                    I suppose I should not take it too personally, since he misunderstands and
                    slights agile methods and programmers too, but I do, particularly when he
                    wrongly attacks and attributes to me individually the book co-authored with
                    Lucy Lockwood. Yes, we did cite a lot of our own work, because at that time
                    much of the most relevant work was ours, but then, too, we had far more
                    citations to others. And, yes, we did not devote many pages to
                    testing--because we were writing a book about DESIGN not testing. A check of
                    any book about usability testing will reveal not a lot said about design.

                    Which brings me to the subtext of my message. I contribute to this forum
                    because it is a genuine dialogue, open and fair, with diverse views and
                    strong opinions, but without malice and minimal misrepresentation, a place
                    where misunderstandings are quickly countered and corrected. Unfortunately,
                    the blogosphere is something different. 


                    --Larry Constantine, IDSA
                      Director, Lab-USE - The Laboratory for Usage-centered Software Engineering
                      University of Madeira, Funchal, Portugal

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                    •  To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
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