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Re: [XP] XP and Big Interaction Design Up Front

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  • Paolo Bizzarri
    [Crossposting from XP, sorry...] ... I think it is right in general, but it is false for a good XP project. Even in a well refactored code base you could have
    Message 1 of 5 , Aug 31, 2004
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      [Crossposting from XP, sorry...]
      > >
      > > - good usability cannot be easily added to a
      > > product: it has to be designed
      > > from scratch;
      >
      > Wrong. It can't be added to a _crappy_ program. If you
      > let a refactorable program mature, changing the GUI is
      > just another change.

      I think it is right in general, but it is false for a good XP project. Even in
      a well refactored code base you could have a new concept that has been
      ignored/not well understood by developers, that has produced a poor
      interaction. XP allows us to dare to propose a complete refactoring of this
      (as said before, we are really experiencing such a thing...).

      > However, if you release that GUI to a significant user
      > population, they will bond with its features in ways
      > you should not predict or derail.
      >
      > I propose (entirely to make everyone need to hire more
      > programmers like me) that programs should version with
      > skins, so each user population gets the skin they
      > like.
      >
      I think you are right, but Cooper make a strong point that he is not speaking
      about GUIs, but about user interaction. In My Really Limited Experience, the
      second drive the first. If you build a good design interaction, you will end
      with a good interface, even if it is not graphically phancy.

      BTW, I am starting to think that he is really speaking about some kind of
      workflows at the level of the user...

      > > - good usability has a strong influence over (or
      > > even drives) the whole
      > > software design processes;
      >
      > Unfortunately yes. In theory, program logic
      > encapsulates behind a representation layer. In
      > practice, the logic layer takes any shortcut the GUI
      > provides.
      >

      see above. I think the focus is Interaction, not the Interface

      > > - when asked to improve the usability, they normally
      > > say: "Oh yes, you mean
      > > adding fancy icons and better colours"...;
      >
      > That's why usability experts should show, don't tell.
      > They should sketch the interface they want, from
      > scratch.

      This was meant to be ironic. My intention was to say that programmers don't
      understand usability, because they see simply as a problem of putting more
      decorations on a window or on a web page. My understanding is that the real
      problem is the user interaction, not the user interface. The GUI is the way
      the user has to interact with the program, but what makes the user work is
      the interaction, not the GUI per se...

      For example, we have seen an application from a competitor of ours. The web
      interface was generally good. However, there was clearly a big problem in the
      application per se.

      Features were scattered around the program, added on the base of the request
      of the customer. Howver, there was no idea of general interaction among user
      and program. This part was never refactored, even if the forms and the web
      pages where generally well designed.

      Regards

      Paolo

      --
      Paolo Bizzarri - President - Icube S.r.l.
      Address: Via Ridolfi 15 - 56124 Pisa (PI), Italy
      E-mail: p.bizzarri@... Web: http://www.icube.it
      Phone: (+39) 050 97 02 07 Fax: (+39) 050 31 36 588
    • Dave Cronin
      Not that I m speaking for Alan or anything, but since I work here at ... Around here, we generally believe that while iteration development may be a highly
      Message 2 of 5 , Sep 1, 2004
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        Not that I'm speaking for Alan or anything, but since I work here at
        Cooper, I thought I'd just correct one misperception for y'all:

        > Paolo Bizzarri wrote:
        >
        > I am reading the otherwise enjoyable book "The Inmates are Running the

        > Asylum", by Alan Cooper.
        >
        > As far as I understand, it is strongly against iteration development
        > for building a coherent approach to interaction among users and
        > programs.

        Around here, we generally believe that while iteration development may
        be a highly effective way to build software, as well as determine
        low-level requirements and interface designs, there is a better way to
        initially define a product and develop a high-level interaction design
        which involves upfront user, business and technical research, analysis
        and synthesis.

        -dave


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        main (415) 267 3500
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      • William Pietri
        ... Interesting! That s a different impression than I had from, say, reading the interactions between Cooper and Beck. What bad effects have you seen from
        Message 3 of 5 , Sep 1, 2004
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          On Wed, 2004-09-01 at 10:42, Dave Cronin wrote:
          > > As far as I understand, it is strongly against iteration development
          > > for building a coherent approach to interaction among users and
          > > programs.
          >
          > Around here, we generally believe that while iteration development may
          > be a highly effective way to build software, as well as determine
          > low-level requirements and interface designs, there is a better way to
          > initially define a product and develop a high-level interaction design
          > which involves upfront user, business and technical research, analysis
          > and synthesis.

          Interesting! That's a different impression than I had from, say, reading
          the interactions between Cooper and Beck. What bad effects have you seen
          from doing the planning in parallel with an agile development process,
          rather than your preferred sequential approach?

          Thanks,

          William
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