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Re: [agile-usability] Re: How to write user stories for usability at release and sprint level

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  • Jim Ungar
    ... So what was causing the pain, and how can designers adjust to new development methodologies without resorting to Big Design Up Front? I am an interaction
    Message 1 of 83 , May 8 1:47 PM
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      William Pietri wrote:

      >I think on the design side, things have lagged behind. Not because of
      >any fault of designers, mind you. I think it's partly because
      >plan-driven methods caused a lot more pain for developers than
      >designers, so they had more incentive to switch.

      So what was causing the pain, and how can designers adjust to new development methodologies without resorting to Big Design Up Front?
      I am an interaction designer working in an agile environment.
      In my experience, the pain is caused not by the plan, but by the lack of engineer involvement in creating the plan, and the time it takes to create it. I have had developers tell me of the frustration of working in a black box, with no visibility into the justifications for a design. How can one bring problem solving skills to bear and have confidence in the solutions without this? And how can designers establish design direction (and vision) within an agile time frame?

       Use a design studio - which is a one day workshop that solidifies design from the best ideas of engineers, designers, and stakeholders - informed by user centered design research.

      Jeff White and I have presented to CHI and Interactions '08 on just this subject and how we have used a Design Studio approach to:
      • Put design ahead of development
      • Share the design vision
      • Effectively share user research with developers in a timely manner
      • Gain a shared understanding of the design across the team
      • Give the team ownership of the design in a manner that leverages the expertise of every team member (and the designer)
      We have done this with as little as 10 days of lead time, and we have done it 8 times over the past year. It works and it is a great fit for agile development.

      You can see a video of our presentation here:
      User Interface Design in an Agile Environment: Enter the Design Studio

      While I won't pretend that the design studio practice alone "solves" the problem - I think it is a valuable tool to have in one's arsenal.

      Cheers!

      Jim
    • carl myhill
      I m a bit new to Agile but don t really see the problem with this vision thing. I use the Cooper Goal-Directed Design Method. We interview users to learn their
      Message 83 of 83 , Jun 2, 2008
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        I'm a bit new to Agile but don't really see the problem with this
        vision thing. I use the Cooper Goal-Directed Design Method.

        We interview users to learn their goals and understand their tasks and
        we do that up front, perhaps as a sprint rather than anything
        iterative.

        We produce personas, from the interview data, and goals. And we
        produce high level context scenarios, which start making basic
        references to concepts that will exist in the design.

        From the context scenarios we can almost underline the parts which
        indicate user needs.

        Then we take out a whiteboard pen and write a storyboard wireframe
        (which Cooper used to call the Design Vision and now call in
        Interaction Framework). We elaborate a bit on the design hinted at in
        the context scenario and produce a key path scenario, which describes
        in more detail how the user will interact with the design. This whole
        exercise lets us outline the anatomy of the design and to understand
        how to play it.

        When we are happy with that Design Vision, we can jump into iterations
        and do a bit of 'just in time' detailed design.

        The Vision, is the Design Vision. It is justified through
        understanding the users typical day and their typical needs. It
        probably won't change much since it is quite high level.

        I'm not sure where the problem is with a vision like this. perhaps,
        the only drawback is that you have to do a bit of work in front of the
        iterative cycles to get a good understanding of the users and what
        they do to enable you to get this vision pinned down.

        i'd be interested in comments on this.

        Carl
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