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Re: [agile-usability] Abuse of Usage

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  • Phlip
    ... Luxury. I used to hang awake at night, dreeeaming that a blogger somewhere would write a screed misrepresenting my views. -- Phlip
    Message 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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 7 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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                  •  Visit your group "agile-usability" on the web.
                   
                  •  To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
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                  •  Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service.

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