Re: incremental design -vs- overall user experience
- --- In email@example.com, "helen johnstone"
>I'm seeing a pattern in this post, and Brian O'Byrne's subsequent
> > An effective way around this problem is to draft a navigation
> > architecture (screen flow) in advance based on provisional
> > understanding of user roles and tasks in the application.
> This is what I've been using for a while.
post: that is a big picture showing the system navigation is pretty
valuable for detecting and helping to solve these sorts of
If I recognize that, I'm tempted to build that picture big, as a
poster, and hang it in a visible place where the development team
and customer team can see it. As the product evolves, I'd keep that
picture updated. So it's not too tough to update, I might do it on
poster paper with 3x5 cards and tape - or sticky post-it notes. I
could see building this model as a collaborative group activity - so
it wasn't a burden to one interaction designer, and so that others
on the team "ingested" the information in the picture faster than
they would by just looking at it.
An earlier post asked where usability/interaction design stuff goes
in agile process. /My/ opinion is that it's a cross-cutting-
concern - it goes everywhere. It's a layer of what we're doing.
certainly there are places in the process where more emphasis and
expertise is more valuable. But if a big picture of the navigation
architecture is a usability technique, I see that technique as being
valuable most of the time through the life of the product.
I'd consider the role of a usability person on an agile project as a
teaching/coaching role. In regards to this technique, I'd see the
usability person leading the work-session to build this navigation
model. I'd see them coaching people on a day to day basis on using
the model and seeing how the work they're doing today fits into the
model. This integrates the usability person into the team rather
them leaving them in their own silo of expertise. This gives
everyone working on the software a foundational understanding of
what the usability person does and can give guidance in doing.
Lastly, I don't think a usability person is a necessary role on an
agile team. I think the _work they do_ is necessary. And,
depending on it's criticality to the project, there could be an
expert on the team, or the work could be understood and shared among
members of the team.
This is without a doubt an issue that I came across in my experience
as a usability manager.
Do you suggest that this work should be done in iteration 0 using the
agile methodology? This seems to be increasingly a recommendation in
a number of white papers and publications such as Scott Ambler.
However, when you say 'minimal effort' how does this translate into
time scales - is there an average that you work with in your
experience let's say 1-2 weeks?
I also appreciate, if you could forward the pdfs on the collaborative
UI review method that you mentioned in a previous message.
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "Larry Constantine"
> An effective way around this problem is to draft a navigation
> (screen flow) in advance based on provisional understanding of userroles
> and tasks in the application. This architecture gives a reasonablywell
> thought out framework on which to hang the features and functionsas they
> arise "organically." The navigation architecture is itself reviewedand
> refactored as needed as the details of the application emerge. Thisapproach
> is what I describe as "architecture-first development" in the newCutter
> Report on agility and usability. It's proven to be a goodcompromise that
> yields maximal payoff in maintaining a sound UI organization withbare
> minimal upfront investment.experience
> --Larry Constantine
> Chief Scientist | Constantine & Lockwood, Ltd.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Jeff Grigg [mailto:jeffgrigg@...]
> Sent: Tuesday, 13 July 2004 7:48 PM
> To: email@example.com
> Subject: [agile-usability] incremental design -vs- overall user
> I can't claim to be an expert on user interface design or agile
> methods, but here's a thought that's been bothering me for a while:
> It's been my experience that systems that "grow organically" over
> time often have bad user interfaces. New features are often buried
> deep within the existing user interface structure, making it hard
> find. New reports, for example, are added as buttons or menu*not*
> options deep in the work flow, where they're first needed, but
> made available from higher level menus.even
> I've found that drawing screen flow diagrams of the overall system
> illustrates these problems and guides redesign of the GUI to make
> the system more usable.
> How can one avoid this problem in "organically growing" systems?
> Does the "overall user experience" need to be planned up-front,
> when functionality is implemented incrementally?redesigned
> As project direction changes during implementation, what triggers
> you to recognize that the user interface flow needs to be
> to most effectively support the new business requirements you've
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