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UI Guidelines and Acceptance Testing

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  • Ann Dillon
    Our organization recently adopted Agile methodologies (Scrum, Test- driven design) in order to implement a large, multi-year, J2EE project. We just started our
    Message 1 of 58 , Jul 14 12:40 PM
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      Our organization recently adopted Agile methodologies (Scrum, Test-
      driven design) in order to implement a large, multi-year, J2EE
      project. We just started our fourth iteration.

      One of the process questions that recently emerged is how do we
      ensure that the UI Guidelines that the UI team has put together get
      implemented?

      Here's our process in a nutshell:
      1. We have a set of UI Guidelines that all screens are supposed to
      follow.
      2. At the beginning of each iteration, if the goal involves UI work,
      a UI designer creates a screenshot and a UI behavioral description
      that details all of the expected interactions (i.e. tab order,
      cursor focus, button states). These are presented to the product
      owners for approval along with the test plan.
      3. During the iteration, the UI designers create the Java panels and
      then turn those over to the developers to "hook-up" the UI.

      The problem:
      The acceptance tests (JUnit) up to this point have been very simple
      functionality based tests so the finished product at the end of the
      iteration can pass all tests, yet not resemble the interaction that
      we (the UI team) had originally intended or the Product owners
      expected.

      Product Owners are understandably upset, and the dev. teams respond
      that since the UI behaviors weren't part of the acceptance tests,
      they weren't responsible for completing them.

      Any ideas on how to help resolve this issue and end the finger
      pointing? Do the product owners have to detail out every UI behavior
      as part of the suite of acceptance tests (even if something is
      covered in the UI Guidelines)? Can/should this be done in automated
      testing? Do product backlogs need to include such detailed items
      like tab order?

      Any input greatly appreciated! And thanks again to Jeff for getting
      this group started!
      -Ann
    • Mike Kuniavsky
      I m still in the early parts of the project, so a lot will certainly change, but I m planning to start by introducing some easy ideas on a small scale, but on
      Message 58 of 58 , Aug 12, 2004
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        I'm still in the early parts of the project, so a lot will certainly
        change, but I'm planning to start by introducing some easy ideas on a
        small scale, but on a project that is a "pain point" in terms of the UX.
        That will, ideally, teach us about what works in this particular software
        development culture while having the appropriate social and political
        effects. In other words, whatever we do will have to have results that
        are immediately useful to the development and produce results that are
        observable by management.

        In terms of techniques, I'll probably start with some lightweight
        usability testing and persona development incorporated into the next
        development cycle for a single team, but I don't know yet. As a company,
        they've already done a little contextual research--going out to customers
        and just seeing what it is that people do with their stuff--and that's
        proven to be quite effective in communicating the value of user-centered
        methods, so maybe we'll continue that.

        Like I said, a lot will depend on the specific situation, and I'm only
        just learning about the company culture.

        On Mon, 9 Aug 2004, Jeff Patton wrote:

        > --- In agile-usability@yahoogroups.com, Mike Kuniavsky <mikek@o...>
        > wrote:
        > > I'm also starting a parallel project to
        > > train and coach their teams in user-centered practices....
        >
        > Mike, while looking at your original post on UI guidelines, I noticed
        > the above line. I'd really like to hear about the approach you're
        > going with here. Are there specific techniques you'll teach? Are
        > there specific artifacts - models, uses-cases, UI prototypes, etc..
        > you'll expect the team to create? Will the work they do happen
        > concurrently with development?
        >
        > Thanks,
        >
        > -Jeff
        >
        >
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        --
        Mike Kuniavsky
        mikek@...
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