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Re: [agile-usability] Re: It's not about UI

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  • Lynn Miller
    I forgot to introduce myself to the group. Sorry. I work at Alias, which creates software for 3d design and animation. Our software products are used to
    Message 1 of 35 , Aug 4, 2004
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      I forgot to introduce myself to the group.  Sorry.

      I work at Alias, which creates software for 3d design and animation.  Our software products are used to create special effects in movies (like Gollum in LOTR), for games (characters and levels), and for product and car design.

      I lead the usability engineering team which does 'big U' usability - starting from product concept right through past release.  I have been with the company for 15 years and have worked to get usability into the company and then to integrate agile and usability.  We've been quite successful with it, but are constantly looking to improve our methods.

      We identify the primary user at the product concept stage when the idea for a product is first expressed.  Marketing, product management and usability work together on this.  If we can't identify a user then the product concept won't go forward since if you can't say for sure who is going to use the product then there's a good chance no one will. :-)

      At this stage usually the marketing side is trying to be overly general on who the user is and the usability side has to make sure that we get down to a level that actually means something.  e.g. Marketing: Anyone who owns a computer.  Usability: Classically trained animators.  (I may be exaggerating a little.)  I find it really helps to have examples of design decisions that would go in two different directions depending on the user.  This helps people 'get' why we need to be clear on the primary user.

      Another thing that helps is to make sure the group understands that the primary user is not the only user of the product.  There are definitely other types that will buy the product.  We had a tuba player and a fireman buy our sketching product.  Neither was the primary user. :-)  But we don't design the interface for tuba players and fireman just because they might buy it.

      As for keeping up with the changing businesses of our primary users - we like to go beyond that.  With products like Maya (the 3d animation package) we try to stay ahead of our customers so that our software is what changes their business.  This is a lot of fun, but keeps us on the bleeding edge where being agile really makes a difference.

      Lynn

      Jeff Patton wrote:
      --- In agile-usability@yahoogroups.com, Lynn Miller <lmiller@a...> 
      wrote:
        
      You add the features that support the most important task that your 
      defined primary user has to do.  
          
      Lynn, can you say more about how your team goes about identifying and 
      describing your primary user?  Who in your organization does that?  
      When does that happen?  
      
      I believe you've been at your company for quite a while - and I 
      believe your company has grown by leaps and bounds - so I'd suspect 
      you've added more types primary users as you've added products, and 
      your primary users goals have changed as their businesses have 
      changed.  Is keeping up with that change a tough thing, or in 
      practice do things move rather smoothly?
      
      Thanks,
      
      -Jeff
      
      
      
        

    • Ann Dillon
      Heck, I d lobby for copies for all the UI team in our shop - so bump the number up to seven! Ann ...
      Message 35 of 35 , Aug 9, 2004
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        Heck, I'd lobby for copies for all the UI team in our shop - so bump
        the number up to seven!
        Ann

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