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Could UI Engineering have lead to Wiki?

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  • Desilets, Alain
    Before I start, let me say that I am very much in favour of SOME upfront analysis for getting requirements and basic usability right. In fact, that s probably
    Message 1 of 28 , Sep 1, 2004
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      Before I start, let me say that I am very much in favour of SOME upfront
      analysis for getting requirements and basic usability right. In fact, that's
      probably the area where upfront design is most warranted.

      But I have always been puzzled by the example of Wiki. Suppose you started
      with the goal of producing a tool that allows non-technical users to easily
      update the content of a web site. Suppose you did an extensive user-centered
      design exercise. Would you end up with a specification that's anything like
      Wiki? I suspect not.

      Yet, Wiki IS usable by non-technical users (I have been teaching it to Grade
      4 kids for 2 years and they learn it very quickly). And it can be
      implemented in ten pages of perl code. Ten pages! Think about it!

      What Wiki illustrates is that the XP principle of "Implementing the simplest
      thing that could possibly work" may apply not only to the code and
      architecture, but also to the UI design.

      Any thoughts on that?

      ----
      Alain Désilets, MASc
      Agent de recherches/Research Officer
      Institut de technologie de l'information du CNRC /
      NRC Institute for Information Technology

      alain.desilets@...
      Tél/Tel (613) 990-2813
      Facsimile/télécopieur: (613) 952-7151

      Conseil national de recherches Canada, M50, 1200 chemin Montréal,
      Ottawa (Ontario) K1A 0R6
      National Research Council Canada, M50, 1200 Montreal Rd., Ottawa, ON
      K1A 0R6

      Gouvernement du Canada | Government of Canada
    • Phlip
      ... I done already wrote it up like that: Humans, collaborating to write a Web site, most frequently want to upload simple paragraphs of text, containing a few
      Message 2 of 28 , Sep 1, 2004
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        Desilets, Alain wrote:

        > What Wiki illustrates is that the XP principle of
        > "Implementing the simplest
        > thing that could possibly work" may apply not only
        > to the code and
        > architecture, but also to the UI design.

        I done already wrote it up like that:

        Humans, collaborating to write a Web site, most
        frequently want to upload simple paragraphs of text,
        containing a few markup codes and links to other pages
        in the same site.

        The least simple solution gives all the users
        expensive "WYSIWYG" editors and complex upload
        protocols. The most simple solution gives each Web
        page an "EditPage" button. When you click it, you get
        a page containing the previous page's content area
        rendered as a big edit field. The content area
        contains not HTML source but a tiny breezy markup
        language.

        Analyzing users' requirements, removing duplication
        from their behaviors, and trimming unneeded features
        all specify the simplest thing that could possibly
        work: A Wiki.

        Duplication removal drives design. Source should
        strive to define program behavior Once and Only Once.
        Software should not require users to perform the same
        sequence of actions too often. So duplication removal
        drives requirements analysis.


        =====
        Phlip
        http://industrialxp.org/community/bin/view/Main/TestFirstUserInterfaces



        _______________________________
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        Win 1 of 4,000 free domain names from Yahoo! Enter now.
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      • Petteri Hiisilä
        ... Yes, Wiki is a great, very goal-oriented piece of invention. Someone must have had a goal-directed mind to come up with something like that. We use it as
        Message 3 of 28 , Sep 1, 2004
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          But I have always been puzzled by the example of Wiki. Suppose you started
          with the goal of producing a tool that allows non-technical users to easily
          update the content of a web site. Suppose you did an extensive user-centered
          design exercise. Would you end up with a specification that's anything like
          Wiki? I suspect not.

          Yet, Wiki IS usable by non-technical users (I have been teaching it to Grade
          4 kids for 2 years and they learn it very quickly). And it can be
          implemented in ten pages of perl code. Ten pages! Think about it!

          What Wiki illustrates is that the XP principle of "Implementing the simplest
          thing that could possibly work" may apply not only to the code and
          architecture, but also to the UI design. 

          Any thoughts on that?
          Yes, Wiki is a great, very goal-oriented piece of invention. Someone must have had a goal-directed mind to come up with something like that. We use it as our documenting tool at the moment, and the documenting speed has at least tripled. Almost everybody use it.

          And yes, goal-directed design excercise brings up solutions like that, and better. User-centered design always doesn't. There's a BIG difference. E-mail wasn't invented by stuying envelope usability, or asking snail-mail users how the envelope should be improved. We need to understand deeper motivations and frustrations to be really really creative.

          I'm not saying that UI engineering or user-centered methodology can't do that. A lot still depends on the designer's personal abilities. A formal design process based on and directed by a deep understanding of human goals and motivations can greatly improve your chances of success.

          Here's a little case study:

          We're now updating our internal communication and development tools. We're going to do our own Wiki-style app, but it's going to include a semi-WYSIWYG text editor. That way we don't have to teach humans to use it at all. They get it just by looking at it. All the headline/bold/italic buttons are sitting where they should.

          We looked into our developer's heads (research, modeling of GDD), and found the following goals: (sorry for possibly clumsy translations)

          John's pictureJohn's goals:

          Be creative. John's a brilliant thinker and a very creative person, but his creativity must not be misused by forcing him understand, what problems the final product is actually trying to solve.

          Concentrate.
          John wants to think the technical solution in a comfortable environment. Technical design takes it's time, and construction requires non-interrupted flow of mind.

          Personal development. Developing software is a craft, that requires big brain. For John, personal development means growing skills, understanding and respect. Not a growing number of subordinates.

          John represents all our developers. If we satisfy John, our developers have said that they will be happy too.

          From this we distilled out some functional requirements, that enable John's (and other team member's) goals. Those include one-click document editing; less juggling with document versions and more collaborating; finalized human designs; a documenting tool that others know how to use without calling John; non-interrupting collaboration tool; ability to cross-reference between sources of information.

          Now, doesn't that start to sound a bit like Wiki?-)

          At the moment we're writing scenarios form John's point of view. We also have Jari, the customer (who pays the project, he's almost never an end-user) and Mary, the project manager.

          After this we'll design wireframe models that enable everybody's scenarios, functional requirements and finally goals. That kind of backward compatibility is important to keep the focus on original goals.

          At that point we're going to make decisions, whether to start building this on top of Wiki, or perhaps on top of our content management system. It has a WYSIWYG-editor after all.

          All our CMS needs is a presentation layer for creating beautiful PDF prints, handy web access, and maybe some other minor improvements. A web interface might be too clumsy for editing 100-page documents. It's a great presentation (reading) layer though, and will still have an Edit button that opens the text editor, to enable one-click collaboration.

          I have to drop out lots of details because of confidentiality issues, but I hope this gave you a picture how you can come up with something like Wiki in a goal-directed process.

           - Petteri

          -- 
          Petteri Hiisilä
          Palveluarkkitehti / Interaction Designer /
          Alma Media Interactive Oy / NWS /
          +358505050123 / petteri.hiisila@...

          "I know what I believe. I will continue to believe
          what I believe and what I believe - I believe what
          I believe is right."

          - George W. Bush
        • Desilets, Alain
          -- [Phlip] Humans, collaborating to write a Web site, most frequently want to upload simple paragraphs of text, containing a few markup codes and links to
          Message 4 of 28 , Sep 1, 2004
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            -- [Phlip]
            Humans, collaborating to write a Web site, most
            frequently want to upload simple paragraphs of text,
            containing a few markup codes and links to other pages
            in the same site.

            The least simple solution gives all the users
            expensive "WYSIWYG" editors and complex upload
            protocols. The most simple solution gives each Web
            page an "EditPage" button. When you click it, you get
            a page containing the previous page's content area
            rendered as a big edit field. The content area
            contains not HTML source but a tiny breezy markup
            language.
            ----

            That's the simplest solution from an implementation point of view, but it's
            not the most usable one. Non-technical users HATE markup languages, even
            simple ones like wiki-markup (although my experience with grade 4 kids shows
            that they can learn it quickly). A more usable solution would be a simple
            WYSIWYG editor that runs inside the browser and only enables basic things
            like: link creation, bolding, italicising, indenting, bullet-pointing etc. I
            believe that IS the optimal UI for writing web sites collaboratively, and
            that we will eventually be there in a few years from now.

            Unfortunately, the more usable solution is MUCH, MUCH, MUCH harder to
            implement (remember: only 10 pages of code for the simple solution!), yet it
            is *NOT* MUCH, MUCH, MUCH easier to use. So it makes sense to go for the
            implementationally simpler solution.

            I have read a lot of messages on this list in the past week that say you
            should not think about implementation complexity while doing the interaction
            design. I think that is dangerous, as pointed out by the Wiki example.

            I have also heard people say that you should first design the ideal UI from
            the point of view of the user, and then downgrade that to something which is
            implementationally simple yet satisfactory to the user. Some people have
            commented that such downgrading is hard to do without compromising
            usability, and I agree with that. I would add that the initial UI design may
            constrain your thinking about implementation and make it hard to come up
            with the right compromise between implementation simplicity and usability.

            To sum up the points, you shouldn't optimize usability without paying
            attention to implementation simplicity, anymore than you should optimize
            implementation simplicity without paying attention to usability.

            So we need a methodology that allows UI experts and developpers to
            communicate and collaboratively come up with a design that satisfies both
            aspects. That's one of the reasons why I like Contextual Design (in
            particular the agile version that Hugh presented at XPAU 2004). It allows
            the whole team (not just UI experts) to get immersed in customer data and
            collaboratively make rational decisions about what to implement.

            ----
            Alain Désilets, MASc
            Agent de recherches/Research Officer
            Institut de technologie de l'information du CNRC /
            NRC Institute for Information Technology

            alain.desilets@...
            Tél/Tel (613) 990-2813
            Facsimile/télécopieur: (613) 952-7151

            Conseil national de recherches Canada, M50, 1200 chemin Montréal,
            Ottawa (Ontario) K1A 0R6
            National Research Council Canada, M50, 1200 Montreal Rd., Ottawa, ON
            K1A 0R6

            Gouvernement du Canada | Government of Canada
          • Petteri Hiisilä
            ... Good, thoughtful views. I must read Hugh s presentation. Is it available online? What do you think about Dave s article? I think it touches this
            Message 5 of 28 , Sep 1, 2004
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              Alain wrote:
              To sum up the points, you shouldn't optimize usability without paying
              attention to implementation simplicity, anymore than you should optimize
              implementation simplicity without paying attention to usability.

              So we need a methodology that allows UI experts and developpers to
              communicate and collaboratively come up with a design that satisfies both
              aspects. That's one of the reasons why I like Contextual Design (in
              particular the agile version that Hugh presented at XPAU 2004). It allows
              the whole team (not just UI experts) to get immersed in customer data and
              collaboratively make rational decisions about what to implement.

              Good, thoughtful views. I must read Hugh's presentation. Is it available online?

              What do you think about Dave's article? I think it touches this discussion:
              http://www.cooper.com/content/insights/newsletters/2003_07/RUP_&_GDD.asp

              A salesman from Rational is going to visit us next month. I'm eager to see what she's going to sell us. I have asked her to read Dave's article, and try to arrange her agile sales lyrics to our goal-directed notes.

              - Petteri

              -- 
              Petteri Hiisilä
              Palveluarkkitehti / Interaction Designer /
              Alma Media Interactive Oy / NWS /
              +358505050123 / petteri.hiisila@...

              "I know what I believe. I will continue to believe
              what I believe and what I believe - I believe what
              I believe is right."

              - George W. Bush

            • Ron Jeffries
              ... Well, yes, but I programmed a wiki from scratch in about the time it took to read about this. :) Ron Jeffries www.XProgramming.com You keep using that
              Message 6 of 28 , Sep 1, 2004
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                On Wednesday, September 1, 2004, at 7:34:50 AM, Petteri Hiisilä wrote:

                > I have to drop out lots of details because of confidentiality issues,
                > but I hope this gave you a picture how you can come up with something
                > like Wiki in a goal-directed process.

                Well, yes, but I programmed a wiki from scratch in about the time it took
                to read about this. :)

                Ron Jeffries
                www.XProgramming.com
                You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
                --Inigo Montoya
              • Desilets, Alain
                ... From: Petteri Hiisilä [mailto:petteri.hiisila@almamedia.fi] Sent: Wednesday, September 01, 2004 7:48 AM To: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com Subject:
                Message 7 of 28 , Sep 1, 2004
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                  Message
                  -----Original Message-----
                  From: Petteri Hiisilä [mailto:petteri.hiisila@...]
                  Sent: Wednesday, September 01, 2004 7:48 AM
                  To: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
                  Subject: [agile-usability] Re: Could UI Engineering have lead to Wiki?

                  Alain wrote:
                  To sum up the points, you shouldn't optimize usability without paying
                  attention to implementation simplicity, anymore than you should optimize
                  implementation simplicity without paying attention to usability.

                  So we need a methodology that allows UI experts and developpers to
                  communicate and collaboratively come up with a design that satisfies both
                  aspects. That's one of the reasons why I like Contextual Design (in
                  particular the agile version that Hugh presented at XPAU 2004). It allows
                  the whole team (not just UI experts) to get immersed in customer data and
                  collaboratively make rational decisions about what to implement.

                  [Petteri]:
                   
                   Good, thoughtful views. I must read Hugh's presentation. Is it available online?  
                   
                  [Alain] 
                  The paper in question is only available in the paper proceedings of XPAU 2004.
                   
                  Hugh, do you have other online resources on Rapid CD?
                   
                   
                  [Petteri]:
                   
                  What do you think about Dave's article? I think it touches this discussion:
                  http://www.cooper.com/content/insights/newsletters/2003_07/RUP_&_GDD.asp

                  A salesman from Rational is going to visit us next month. I'm eager to see what she's going to sell us. I have asked her to read Dave's article, and try to arrange her agile sales lyrics to our goal-directed notes. 
                   
                  [Alain]:
                   
                  One thing I really like about CD is that it focuses on understanding the WORK that the user needs to do, as opposed to what the user wants (or thinks he wants) to do with the SYSTEM. GDD seems to share that trait with CD.
                   
                  At some point though, this knowlege of the user's goals needs to be translated into a set of system functionality.
                  A second thing I like about CD is that it recommends that the vision for that set of functionality should be developped collaboratively by a pluridisciplinary team (business people, users, UI experts and yes, developpers). I think this is crucial to coming up with a vision for an "optimal" system. Here by optimal, I mean a system that efficiently supports the user's work, while satisfying other requirements (ex: cost, timeline for deployment, portability, maintainability). I don't know enough about GDD to say wether or not it shares that second trait with CD.
                   

                  Alain Désilets, MASc
                  Agent de recherches/Research Officer
                  Institut de technologie de l'information du CNRC /
                  NRC Institute for Information Technology

                  alain.desilets@...
                  Tél/Tel (613) 990-2813
                  Facsimile/télécopieur: (613) 952-7151

                  Conseil national de recherches Canada, M50, 1200 chemin Montréal,
                  Ottawa (Ontario) K1A 0R6
                  National Research Council Canada, M50, 1200 Montreal Rd., Ottawa, ON
                  K1A 0R6

                  Gouvernement du Canada | Government of Canada

                   

                • Petteri Hiisilä
                  ... second trait with CD. It does :) GDD and CD have a lot in common. Both work, and to my personal experience, they complement each other nicely. My
                  Message 8 of 28 , Sep 1, 2004
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                    Alain:
                    > I don't know enough about GDD to say wether or not it shares that
                    second trait with CD.

                    It does :)

                    GDD and CD have a lot in common. Both work, and to my personal
                    experience, they complement each other nicely. My co-designer is a
                    contextual designer.

                    Karen Holtzblatt, InContext co-founder and CEO (Hugh's co-author) has
                    written about GDD's way of describing end users, which are called Personas:
                    http://www.incent.com/community/design_corner/02_0913.html

                    - Petteri
                  • Petteri Hiisilä
                    ... took ... - ph
                    Message 9 of 28 , Sep 1, 2004
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                      >> I have to drop out lots of details because of confidentiality issues,
                      >> but I hope this gave you a picture how you can come up with something
                      >> like Wiki in a goal-directed process.

                      > Well, yes, but I programmed a wiki from scratch in about the time it
                      took
                      > to read about this. :)

                      :)

                      - ph
                    • Hugh Beyer
                      Yes, Wiki is a great, very goal-oriented piece of invention. Someone must have had a goal-directed mind to come up with something like that. We use it as our
                      Message 10 of 28 , Sep 1, 2004
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                        Yes, Wiki is a great, very goal-oriented piece of invention. Someone must have had a goal-directed mind to come up with something like that. We use it as our documenting tool at the moment, and the documenting speed has at least tripled. Almost everybody use it.

                        And yes, goal-directed design excercise brings up solutions like that, and better. User-centered design always doesn't. There's a BIG difference. E-mail wasn't invented by stuying envelope usability, or asking snail-mail users how the envelope should be improved. We need to understand deeper motivations and frustrations to be really really creative.

                        I'm not saying that UI engineering or user-centered methodology can't do that. A lot still depends on the designer's personal abilities. A formal design process based on and directed by a deep understanding of human goals and motivations can greatly improve your chances of success. 
                        I assume you mean "user-centered design doesn't always" result in solutions like that?
                         
                        Even so, I think your view of user-centered design is too narrow. What are the goals that you are directing your design towards? You can't know unless you talk to them. Note that Wiki is an example of people designing for themselves and people like them, which isn't the case for most of us.
                         
                            Hugh
                         
                      • Hugh Beyer
                        From: Petteri Hiisilä [mailto:petteri.hiisila@almamedia.fi] Sent: Wednesday, September 01, 2004 8:48 AM To: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com Subject:
                        Message 11 of 28 , Sep 1, 2004
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                          From: Petteri Hiisilä [mailto:petteri.hiisila@...]
                          Sent: Wednesday, September 01, 2004 8:48 AM
                          To: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
                          Subject: [agile-usability] Re: Could UI Engineering have lead to Wiki?
                          Alain wrote:
                          To sum up the points, you shouldn't optimize usability without paying
                          attention to implementation simplicity, anymore than you should optimize
                          implementation simplicity without paying attention to usability.

                          So we need a methodology that allows UI experts and developpers to
                          communicate and collaboratively come up with a design that satisfies both
                          aspects. That's one of the reasons why I like Contextual Design (in
                          particular the agile version that Hugh presented at XPAU 2004). It allows
                          the whole team (not just UI experts) to get immersed in customer data and
                          collaboratively make rational decisions about what to implement.

                          Good, thoughtful views. I must read Hugh's presentation. Is it available online?  
                          I can probably make it available if that would be useful.
                           
                          Also, note that XP envisions a discussion between the Customer (Team) and the developers. Customers don't just toss their stories over the wall and disappear. I would expect the trade-off between implementation effort and utility to be part of that conversation.
                           
                              Hugh
                           
                           
                        • Jeff Patton
                          _____ From: Ron Jeffries [mailto:ronjeffries@XProgramming.com] Sent: Wednesday, September 01, 2004 8:29 AM To: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com Subject: Re:
                          Message 12 of 28 , Sep 1, 2004
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                            From: Ron Jeffries [mailto:ronjeffries@...]
                            Sent: Wednesday, September 01, 2004 8:29 AM
                            To: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
                            Subject: Re: [agile-usability] Re: Could UI Engineering have lead to Wiki?

                             

                            On Wednesday, September 1, 2004, at 7:34:50 AM, Petteri Hiisilä wrote:

                            > I have to drop out lots of details because of confidentiality issues,
                            > but I hope this gave you a picture how you can come up with something
                            > like Wiki in a goal-directed process.

                            Well, yes, but I programmed a wiki from scratch in about the time it took
                            to read about this. :)

                            [Jeff P.]

                             

                            I haven’t read back up this thread, so I’m coming in late.  I suspect Petteri described how one might design a wiki using goal directed design.  By that I mean “invent” it.  Ron, I suspect you are able to technically design a wiki given a working prototype – like every other wiki you’ve seen before.  The question is could you invent something like a wiki in a few minutes?  If you had to invent something very appropriate for a particular task, as appropriate as a wiki is to its task, how would you go about it?  If you start by thinking about the people who will be using the tool, what their goals are, and how they might best achieve their goals, AND you think about those things before you write you first line of code, you’d be doing design up front, and using a user-centered design approach at that.  Interaction Design, User Centered Design, Product Design isn’t about how you document requirements for developers – it’s how you design/invent those requirements.    

                             

                            I’d be curious how you’d go about inventing something as appropriate as a wiki?  What steps would you go through to discover what a best solution might be?

                             

                            -Jeff

                             


                            Ron Jeffries
                            www.XProgramming.com
                            You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
                              --Inigo Montoya

                          • Ron Jeffries
                            ... I m not sure that is the question, but I accept that it is /a/ question. My point was that the process Petteri described took a long time just to describe,
                            Message 13 of 28 , Sep 1, 2004
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                              On Wednesday, September 1, 2004, at 5:50:28 PM, Jeff Patton wrote:

                              > I haven’t read back up this thread, so I’m coming in late. I suspect
                              > Petteri described how one might design a wiki using goal directed design.
                              > By that I mean “invent” it. Ron, I suspect you are able to technically
                              > design a wiki given a working prototype – like every other wiki you’ve seen
                              > before. The question is could you invent something like a wiki in a few
                              > minutes?

                              I'm not sure that is the question, but I accept that it is /a/ question.

                              My point was that the process Petteri described took a long time just to
                              describe, and very much longer to execute, and that in the time it would
                              take, one very likely has the choice between having an idea at the end of
                              the time, or an idea plus a program that implements the idea. I believe the
                              latter is generally preferable.

                              > If you had to invent something very appropriate for a particular
                              > task, as appropriate as a wiki is to its task, how would you go about it?
                              > If you start by thinking about the people who will be using the tool, what
                              > their goals are, and how they might best achieve their goals, AND you think
                              > about those things before you write you first line of code, you’d be doing
                              > design up front, and using a user-centered design approach at that.
                              > Interaction Design, User Centered Design, Product Design isn’t about how you
                              > document requirements for developers – it’s how you design/invent those
                              > requirements.

                              Yes. And there now exist developers who can develop things almost as
                              rapidly as they can be thought of -- far more rapidly than is
                              conventionally thought. That changes the point of optimum between dreaming,
                              and dreaming plus building.

                              You know exactly what I'm talking about, I feel certain. How long do you
                              recommend people sit around musing about a way to enter stuff into a web
                              site before getting down to building it? A few days? A week? A month? A
                              year?

                              > I’d be curious how you’d go about inventing something as appropriate as a
                              > wiki? What steps would you go through to discover what a best solution
                              > might be?

                              As far as I know, there are no "steps" for invention. I would work
                              intimately with people who had the problem, talking, doing paper
                              prototypes, and showing them running tested software throughout. I'd try
                              not to lock in technically or otherwise, on anything.

                              I'm not sure it would lead to a "best" solution, nor that a "best" solution
                              is possible, or even well-defined. I'm sure it would lead to something that
                              met the needs in cost and function as well as the assembled multitudes were
                              able to imagine.

                              It would be my guess, by the way, that explaining a wiki is somewhere
                              between impossible and pointless. Everyone I've ever explained it to, or
                              heard of having it explained to them, didn't get it. Everyone who tries
                              it, gets it.

                              What would you do in a situation such as you described? How different do
                              you imagine it to be from what I'd do?

                              Ron Jeffries
                              www.XProgramming.com
                              It is not the strongest of the species that survive, not the most intelligent,
                              but the one most responsive to change. -- Charles Darwin
                            • Lauren Berry
                              ... yet it ... the ... I think this is a very relevant comment. would your user rather have a pretty good product (in terms of usability) now, or an
                              Message 14 of 28 , Sep 1, 2004
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                                Message

                                 > Unfortunately, the more usable solution is MUCH, MUCH, MUCH harder to
                                 > implement (remember: only 10 pages of code for the simple solution!), yet it
                                 > is *NOT* MUCH, MUCH, MUCH easier to use. So it makes sense to go for the
                                 > implementationally simpler solution.
                                 
                                I think this is a very relevant comment.  would your user rather have a "pretty good" product (in terms of usability) now, or an "awesome" product in 3 months time? 
                                 
                                 
                                 
                                 

                              • Keith Nicholas
                                Some stuff you can go right ahead and develop and have working software very quickly, however this often has a low amount of invention. We have a vision
                                Message 15 of 28 , Sep 1, 2004
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                                  Some stuff you can go right ahead and develop and have working software
                                  very quickly, however this often has a low amount of invention.

                                  We have a vision processing system....we have researchers who invent new
                                  ways of processing these images to work out new information.. We have
                                  control systems where we have researchers coming up with control
                                  algorithms.... we don't immediately try to express the ideas in
                                  software (sometimes we do if it's the quickest thing to explore an
                                  idea...). The domain of Machine Vision and the domain of Control Theory
                                  have their own ways and methods of inventing / designing things. These
                                  then get expressed in software. Then depending on how the feedback from
                                  that goes more changes may be made to the software or other techniques
                                  will be used to come up with solutions.

                                  I think the same kinds of thing applies with Interaction Design. Some
                                  stuff doesn't take too much to develop, you can very quickly apply well
                                  known ideas and principles (patterns) and get a good working piece of
                                  software. Sometimes you need to invent a new kind of interaction.
                                  Expressing this in software may or may not be the fastest way to develop
                                  this idea.

                                  Part of what influences this is... How good does it have to be? Do you
                                  really need to invent something new?


                                  Regards,

                                  Keith

                                  > -----Original Message-----
                                  > From: Ron Jeffries [mailto:ronjeffries@...]
                                  > Sent: Thursday, 2 September 2004 10:16 a.m.
                                  > To: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
                                  > Subject: Re: [agile-usability] Re: Could UI Engineering have
                                  > lead to Wiki?
                                  >
                                  >
                                  > On Wednesday, September 1, 2004, at 5:50:28 PM, Jeff Patton wrote:
                                  >
                                  > > I haven't read back up this thread, so I'm coming in late.
                                  > I suspect
                                  > > Petteri described how one might design a wiki using goal directed
                                  > > design. By that I mean "invent" it. Ron, I suspect you are able to
                                  > > technically design a wiki given a working prototype - like
                                  > every other
                                  > > wiki you've seen before. The question is could you invent
                                  > something
                                  > > like a wiki in a few minutes?
                                  >
                                  > I'm not sure that is the question, but I accept that it is
                                  > /a/ question.
                                  >
                                  > My point was that the process Petteri described took a long
                                  > time just to describe, and very much longer to execute, and
                                  > that in the time it would take, one very likely has the
                                  > choice between having an idea at the end of the time, or an
                                  > idea plus a program that implements the idea. I believe the
                                  > latter is generally preferable.
                                  >
                                  > > If you had to invent something very appropriate for a
                                  > particular task,
                                  > > as appropriate as a wiki is to its task, how would you go
                                  > about it? If
                                  > > you start by thinking about the people who will be using the tool,
                                  > > what their goals are, and how they might best achieve their
                                  > goals, AND
                                  > > you think about those things before you write you first
                                  > line of code,
                                  > > you'd be doing design up front, and using a user-centered design
                                  > > approach at that. Interaction Design, User Centered Design, Product
                                  > > Design isn't about how you document requirements for
                                  > developers - it's how you design/invent those
                                  > > requirements.
                                  >
                                  > Yes. And there now exist developers who can develop things
                                  > almost as rapidly as they can be thought of -- far more
                                  > rapidly than is conventionally thought. That changes the
                                  > point of optimum between dreaming, and dreaming plus building.
                                  >
                                  > You know exactly what I'm talking about, I feel certain. How
                                  > long do you recommend people sit around musing about a way to
                                  > enter stuff into a web site before getting down to building
                                  > it? A few days? A week? A month? A year?
                                  >
                                  > > I'd be curious how you'd go about inventing something as
                                  > appropriate
                                  > > as a wiki? What steps would you go through to discover what a best
                                  > > solution might be?
                                  >
                                  > As far as I know, there are no "steps" for invention. I would
                                  > work intimately with people who had the problem, talking,
                                  > doing paper prototypes, and showing them running tested
                                  > software throughout. I'd try not to lock in technically or
                                  > otherwise, on anything.
                                  >
                                  > I'm not sure it would lead to a "best" solution, nor that a
                                  > "best" solution is possible, or even well-defined. I'm sure
                                  > it would lead to something that met the needs in cost and
                                  > function as well as the assembled multitudes were able to imagine.
                                  >
                                  > It would be my guess, by the way, that explaining a wiki is
                                  > somewhere
                                  > between impossible and pointless. Everyone I've ever
                                  > explained it to, or
                                  > heard of having it explained to them, didn't get it.
                                  > Everyone who tries
                                  > it, gets it.
                                  >
                                  > What would you do in a situation such as you described? How
                                  > different do you imagine it to be from what I'd do?
                                  >
                                  > Ron Jeffries
                                  > www.XProgramming.com
                                  > It is not the strongest of the species that survive, not the
                                  > most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change. --
                                  > Charles Darwin
                                  >
                                  > ------------------------ Yahoo! Groups Sponsor
                                  > --------------------~-->
                                  > $9.95 domain names from Yahoo!. Register anything.
                                  > http://us.click.yahoo.com/J8kdrA/y20IAA/yQLSAA> /dpFolB/TM
                                  >
                                  >
                                  > --------------------------------------------------------------
                                  > ------~->
                                  >
                                  >
                                  > Yahoo! Groups Links
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                • Frank Maurer
                                  From: Lauren Berry [mailto:laurenb@compacsort.com] Sent: Wednesday, September 01, 2004 4:20 PM To: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com Subject: RE:
                                  Message 16 of 28 , Sep 1, 2004
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                                    Message
                                    From: Lauren Berry [mailto:laurenb@...]
                                    Sent: Wednesday, September 01, 2004 4:20 PM
                                    To: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
                                    Subject: RE: [agile-usability] Could UI Engineering have lead to Wiki?


                                     > Unfortunately, the more usable solution is MUCH, MUCH, MUCH harder to
                                     > implement (remember: only 10 pages of code for the simple solution!), yet it
                                     > is *NOT* MUCH, MUCH, MUCH easier to use. So it makes sense to go for the
                                     > implementationally simpler solution.
                                     
                                    I think this is a very relevant comment.  would your user rather have a "pretty good" product (in terms of usability) now, or an "awesome" product in 3 months time? 
                                    [Frank Maurer] This is exactly a core difference: usability (the focus of interaction design, ..) versus business value (the focus of the agile community). These dimensions are not the same - although there is a big overlap.
                                     
                                    Frank
                                  • Jeff Patton
                                    ... question. I probably should have read the original question. ;-) ... just to ... would ... end of ... believe the ... I d agree. I spent the better part
                                    Message 17 of 28 , Sep 1, 2004
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                                      --- In agile-usability@yahoogroups.com, Ron Jeffries
                                      <ronjeffries@X...> wrote:
                                      > I'm not sure that is the question, but I accept that it is /a/
                                      question.

                                      I probably should have read the original question. ;-)

                                      > My point was that the process Petteri described took a long time
                                      just to
                                      > describe, and very much longer to execute, and that in the time it
                                      would
                                      > take, one very likely has the choice between having an idea at the
                                      end of
                                      > the time, or an idea plus a program that implements the idea. I
                                      believe the
                                      > latter is generally preferable.

                                      I'd agree. I spent the better part of the day today building paper
                                      prototyoes. [BTW: _Paper Prototying_ from Carolyn Snyder's a very
                                      worthwhile book.] The testing with the customers went great. As a
                                      result of doing some simple role and task analysis, our UI prototypes
                                      were more right than I expected. The customer group had fun going
                                      through them; we got a lot of great feedback; the experience was
                                      pretty worthwhile. The whole process from drawing the prototypes
                                      through testing and feedback took a few hours.

                                      But while building thes prototypes I kept thinking to myself that it
                                      really wouldn't take me too much longer to build this stuff in
                                      code.

                                      > Yes. And there now exist developers who can develop things almost as
                                      > rapidly as they can be thought of -- far more rapidly than is
                                      > conventionally thought. That changes the point of optimum between
                                      dreaming,
                                      > and dreaming plus building.

                                      I buy that. I believe that many traditional interaction designers
                                      have too much experience with with the other kind of developers.

                                      >
                                      > You know exactly what I'm talking about, I feel certain. How long
                                      do you
                                      > recommend people sit around musing about a way to enter stuff into
                                      a web
                                      > site before getting down to building it? A few days? A week? A
                                      month? A
                                      > year?

                                      A few hours. Maybe a day or two. But, the dreaming continues while
                                      the building continues. Either by different people at the same time,
                                      or by developers who know how to do the dreaming in a productive way,
                                      and how to change hats. Think of how Fowler described changing hats
                                      from the refactoring hat to the coding/building hat. Once you
                                      realize you're changing hats, you can learn to do it pretty quickly.

                                      > As far as I know, there are no "steps" for invention. I would work
                                      > intimately with people who had the problem, talking, doing paper
                                      > prototypes, and showing them running tested software throughout.
                                      I'd try
                                      > not to lock in technically or otherwise, on anything.
                                      >
                                      > I'm not sure it would lead to a "best" solution, nor that a "best"
                                      solution
                                      > is possible, or even well-defined. I'm sure it would lead to
                                      something that
                                      > met the needs in cost and function as well as the assembled
                                      multitudes were
                                      > able to imagine.
                                      >
                                      > It would be my guess, by the way, that explaining a wiki is
                                      somewhere
                                      > between impossible and pointless. Everyone I've ever explained it
                                      to, or
                                      > heard of having it explained to them, didn't get it. Everyone who
                                      tries
                                      > it, gets it.
                                      >
                                      > What would you do in a situation such as you described?

                                      I think there _are_ steps - sort of. Not N steps that when followed
                                      always work, but rather lots of dependent techniques that when
                                      applied allow you to circle closer to solutions. User centered
                                      design stuff like roles and role models, personas, task models,
                                      protoypes, collaboration, and conversation. When in doubt, I pack my
                                      head full of interesting information gleamed from these techniques
                                      about the people the product serves and what I /really/ believe their
                                      goals to be, then I sleep on it. Invention often occurrs at some
                                      later time, accidentally. But, it's not so accidental when you
                                      consider the fertile ground you gave it to grow in.

                                      I think there are lots of other ways to create fertile ground ground
                                      for invention, and I'm confident you know lots yourself. [if anyone
                                      knows something about fertalizer creation it's Ron... ;-)] I kinda
                                      like this UCD stuff because it acknowledges there is something you
                                      can do and provides some techniques that seem to be working - at
                                      least for me.

                                      > How different do
                                      > you imagine it to be from what I'd do?

                                      I think you're like most "level 3" people - I think that's what
                                      Alistair would call you. You're smart enough, you listen well
                                      enough, and think clearly enough that you do what seems to be the
                                      most appropriate thing, and it often works out right. If it doesn't
                                      you learn and adjust. I just don't think most folks are like you -
                                      at least not yet. Just as XP gives some "wax-on-wax-off" sorts of
                                      guidelines for developers that ultimately help them evolve past the
                                      practices into thinking more clearly about their craft, I belive UCD
                                      provides a similar mental framework for designers to invent best
                                      solutions to user's problems. I don't belive it's the only way -
                                      just as I don't believe it's necessary to develop good software test-
                                      first. But, just as I wouldn't write code without using a unit
                                      testing framework, I wouldn't design without out applying at least
                                      rudimentary UCD approaches.

                                      Sorry for the long winded response - and thank you for your response.

                                      -Jeff

                                      >
                                      > Ron Jeffries
                                      > www.XProgramming.com
                                      > It is not the strongest of the species that survive, not the most
                                      intelligent,
                                      > but the one most responsive to change. -- Charles Darw
                                    • Lauren Berry
                                      [Frank Maurer] versus business value (the focus of the agile community). [Lauren] i d say the focus of EVERY bussiness - surely? ... From: Frank Maurer
                                      Message 18 of 28 , Sep 1, 2004
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                                        Message
                                        [Frank Maurer] versus business value (the focus of the agile community).
                                        [Lauren] i'd say the focus of EVERY bussiness - surely?
                                        -----Original Message-----
                                        From: Frank Maurer [mailto:maurer@...]
                                        Sent: Thursday, 2 September 2004 11:30 a.m.
                                        To: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
                                        Subject: RE: [agile-usability] Could UI Engineering have lead to Wiki?

                                        From: Lauren Berry [mailto:laurenb@...]
                                        Sent: Wednesday, September 01, 2004 4:20 PM
                                        To: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
                                        Subject: RE: [agile-usability] Could UI Engineering have lead to Wiki?


                                         > Unfortunately, the more usable solution is MUCH, MUCH, MUCH harder to
                                         > implement (remember: only 10 pages of code for the simple solution!), yet it
                                         > is *NOT* MUCH, MUCH, MUCH easier to use. So it makes sense to go for the
                                         > implementationally simpler solution.
                                         
                                        I think this is a very relevant comment.  would your user rather have a "pretty good" product (in terms of usability) now, or an "awesome" product in 3 months time? 
                                        [Frank Maurer] This is exactly a core difference: usability (the focus of interaction design, ..) versus business value (the focus of the agile community). These dimensions are not the same - although there is a big overlap.
                                         
                                        Frank

                                      • Jon Kern
                                        Messagei ll exhibit poor etiquette here by doing a cannonball into this long thread. (Been so busy i am 200+ unread posts behind... and the topic was a
                                        Message 19 of 28 , Sep 1, 2004
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                                          Message
                                          i'll exhibit poor etiquette here by doing a cannonball into this long thread. (Been so busy i am 200+ unread posts behind... and the topic was a headline grabber :=)
                                           
                                          In some sense, I would argue that you cannot even ask this loaded (?) question -- unless, you pose it with a twist.
                                           
                                          If a business need requested the features and functions that a wiki exhibits, gave a hint at the users, and a glance at the budget, then I hope that UI engineering would have arrived at the simple solution that is a wiki, as ward knows it :=)
                                           
                                          1) If UI engineering would not have arrived at the wiki-like solution, then go and fix the engineering principles
                                           
                                          2) This might be a great test!
                                           
                                          Would UI engineering create Google?
                                          How about IM clients?
                                          I hope to Goodness it wouldn't create MS Word...
                                           
                                          3) Who says there wasn't UI engineering involved??
                                           
                                          Thanks for indulging my barging in post... Sorry if it repeats others'

                                          -- jon

                                          -----Original Message-----
                                          From: Lauren Berry [mailto:laurenb@...]
                                          Sent: Wednesday, September 01, 2004 11:16 PM
                                          To: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
                                          Subject: RE: [agile-usability] Could UI Engineering have lead to Wiki?

                                          [Frank Maurer] versus business value (the focus of the agile community).
                                          [Lauren] i'd say the focus of EVERY bussiness - surely?
                                          -----Original Message-----
                                          From: Frank Maurer [mailto:maurer@...]
                                          Sent: Thursday, 2 September 2004 11:30 a.m.
                                          To: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
                                          Subject: RE: [agile-usability] Could UI Engineering have lead to Wiki?

                                          From: Lauren Berry [mailto:laurenb@...]
                                          Sent: Wednesday, September 01, 2004 4:20 PM
                                          To: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
                                          Subject: RE: [agile-usability] Could UI Engineering have lead to Wiki?


                                           > Unfortunately, the more usable solution is MUCH, MUCH, MUCH harder to
                                           > implement (remember: only 10 pages of code for the simple solution!), yet it
                                           > is *NOT* MUCH, MUCH, MUCH easier to use. So it makes sense to go for the
                                           > implementationally simpler solution.
                                           
                                          I think this is a very relevant comment.  would your user rather have a "pretty good" product (in terms of usability) now, or an "awesome" product in 3 months time? 
                                          [Frank Maurer] This is exactly a core difference: usability (the focus of interaction design, ..) versus business value (the focus of the agile community). These dimensions are not the same - although there is a big overlap.
                                           
                                          Frank


                                        • Petteri Hiisilä
                                          ... Yes, I spend most of my time either talking to end users or thinking about their goals. And also I spend most of my time talking to engineers. As I wrote
                                          Message 20 of 28 , Sep 2, 2004
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                                            Hugh Beyer wrote:
                                            Yes, Wiki is a great, very goal-oriented piece of invention. Someone must have had a goal-directed mind to come up with something like that. We use it as our documenting tool at the moment, and the documenting speed has at least tripled. Almost everybody use it.

                                            And yes, goal-directed design excercise brings up solutions like that, and better. User-centered design always doesn't. There's a BIG difference. E-mail wasn't invented by stuying envelope usability, or asking snail-mail users how the envelope should be improved. We need to understand deeper motivations and frustrations to be really really creative.

                                            I'm not saying that UI engineering or user-centered methodology can't do that. A lot still depends on the designer's personal abilities. A formal design process based on and directed by a deep understanding of human goals and motivations can greatly improve your chances of success. 
                                            I assume you mean "user-centered design doesn't always" result in solutions like that?
                                             
                                            Even so, I think your view of user-centered design is too narrow. What are the goals that you are directing your design towards? You can't know unless you talk to them. Note that Wiki is an example of people designing for themselves and people like them, which isn't the case for most of us.


                                            Yes, I spend most of my time either talking to end users or thinking about their goals. And also I spend most of my time talking to engineers. As I wrote before, they sit next to me.  I'm sorry if don't make myself clear. It's kinda hard with email.

                                            I'd be ready to argue, that almost any user-centered / goal-directed / hat-invented process works as long as in the beginning you spend 80 % of your brain processing time on thinking very very hard, how your design will fulfill some real human users real needs in a realistic day. Very practical thinking. It's not just the process. It's the attitude, mindset, way of seeing things. I don't have any backup for this idea, and I'm not willing to present any. But I see this pattern in most methods that aim to humanize technology, and it has been working brilliantly in every single project that I've done. And the opposite hasn't.

                                             - Petteri

                                                Hugh
                                             


                                          • Keith Nicholas
                                            This is what XP is.... fufill a real need - Story scheduled by customer lots of thinking about design expressed as deliverable software Only difference
                                            Message 21 of 28 , Sep 2, 2004
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                                              This is what XP is....

                                              fufill a real need - Story scheduled by customer
                                              lots of thinking about design expressed as deliverable software

                                              Only difference here is how much time you need to do this.

                                              The challenge to interaction designers is can you do it in small
                                              amounts of time in an incremental way? Same question was put to Big
                                              Design Up Front people in the software design world....effective
                                              techniques and thinking mindsets came about that allowed for very
                                              quick delivery of software

                                              Can you come up with new thinking that will allow for very quick
                                              incremental interaction designs? If not, Im sure thats what will
                                              happen....It will all be agilized. :-)

                                              Regards,

                                              Keith



                                              ----- Original Message -----
                                              From: Petteri Hiisilä <petteri.hiisila@...>
                                              Date: Thu, 02 Sep 2004 11:59:47 +0300
                                              Subject: Re: [agile-usability] Re: Could UI Engineering have lead to Wiki?
                                              To: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com

                                              I'd be ready to argue, that almost any user-centered / goal-directed
                                              / hat-invented process works as long as in the beginning you spend 80
                                              % of your brain processing time on thinking very very hard, how your
                                              design will fulfill some real human users real needs in a realistic
                                              day. Very practical thinking. It's not just the process. It's the
                                              attitude, mindset, way of seeing things. I don't have any backup for
                                              this idea, and I'm not willing to present any. But I see this pattern
                                              in most methods that aim to humanize technology, and it has been
                                              working brilliantly in every single project that I've done. And the
                                              opposite hasn't.

                                              - Petteri
                                            • Desilets, Alain
                                              [Alain] ... it ... [Lauren] I think this is a very relevant comment. would your user rather have a pretty good product (in terms of usability) now, or an
                                              Message 22 of 28 , Sep 2, 2004
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                                                Message
                                                [Alain] 
                                                 
                                                  > Unfortunately, the more usable solution is MUCH, MUCH, MUCH harder to
                                                 > implement (remember: only 10 pages of code for the simple solution!), yet it
                                                 > is *NOT* MUCH, MUCH, MUCH easier to use. So it makes sense to go for the
                                                 > implementationally simpler solution. 
                                                 
                                                [Lauren] 
                                                I think this is a very relevant comment.  would your user rather have a "pretty good" product (in terms of usability) now, or an "awesome" product in 3 months time? 
                                                 
                                                [Alain]
                                                 
                                                I think you misunderstand what I meant by "MUCH, MUCH, MUCH harder to implement". The question is more:
                                                 
                                                Would your user rather have a "pretty good" product now, or invest into one year of development with no assurance that the "awesome" product can be done?
                                                 
                                                The reason it's not clear that it can be done is that dynamic HTML is not standard across browsers. So far, the only WYSIWIG HTML editing tools I have seen that run inside a browser can only run inside IE.
                                                 
                                                I think the market has already answered that question. A google search for allinurl: wiki shows that there are over 13 million pages out there that are served by wiki clones. Not bad for something that started out as 10 pages of perl code (BTW: allinurl: asp = 250 million pages and allinurl: jsp = 43 millions pages). On the other hand, I don't know of too many sites (none actually) that are served by a server that allows WYSIWYG editing inside the browser.
                                                 
                                                ----

                                                Alain Désilets, MASc
                                                Agent de recherches/Research Officer
                                                Institut de technologie de l'information du CNRC /
                                                NRC Institute for Information Technology

                                                alain.desilets@...
                                                Tél/Tel (613) 990-2813
                                                Facsimile/télécopieur: (613) 952-7151

                                                Conseil national de recherches Canada, M50, 1200 chemin Montréal,
                                                Ottawa (Ontario) K1A 0R6
                                                National Research Council Canada, M50, 1200 Montreal Rd., Ottawa, ON
                                                K1A 0R6

                                                Gouvernement du Canada | Government of Canada

                                                 

                                                 
                                                 


                                              • Desilets, Alain
                                                [John] If a business need requested the features and functions that a wiki exhibits, gave a hint at the users, and a glance at the budget, then I hope that UI
                                                Message 23 of 28 , Sep 2, 2004
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                                                  Message
                                                  [John]
                                                  If a business need requested the features and functions that a wiki exhibits, gave a hint at the users, and a glance at the budget, then I hope that UI engineering would have arrived at the simple solution that is a wiki, as ward knows it :=) 
                                                   
                                                  -- [Alain]
                                                  I believe a UI engineering process that focuses on optimising usability instead of business value probably would not (read my posting dated 9/1/2004 7:38 for details of that argument).
                                                  ---- 
                                                   
                                                  1) If UI engineering would not have arrived at the wiki-like solution, then go and fix the engineering principles 
                                                   
                                                  -- [Alain]
                                                  The fix is to make sure that you don't focus just on usability and that the vision for the system be created by a multidisciplinary team that collectively knows about the whole problem-solution space (business, users, UI designers and developpers). This is characterisitc of some interaction design methodologies (CD and GDD in particular), but I have read a lot of threads on this list recently that seemed to focus on usability only. So I don't think that this wisdom is well accepted in the UI design community.
                                                  ----- 
                                                   
                                                  3) Who says there wasn't UI engineering involved??
                                                   
                                                  -- [Alain]:
                                                  Well, let's find out. Who knows Ward well enough to ask him the question and have a good chance of getting a reply (I don't)?
                                                  ----
                                                • Lauren Berry
                                                  ... From: Desilets, Alain [mailto:alain.desilets@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca] Sent: Friday, 3 September 2004 12:43 a.m. To: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com Subject: RE:
                                                  Message 24 of 28 , Sep 2, 2004
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                                                    Message
                                                     
                                                    -----Original Message-----
                                                    From: Desilets, Alain [mailto:alain.desilets@...]
                                                    Sent: Friday, 3 September 2004 12:43 a.m.
                                                    To: 'agile-usability@yahoogroups.com'
                                                    Subject: RE: [agile-usability] Could UI Engineering have lead to Wiki?

                                                    [Alain] 
                                                     
                                                      > Unfortunately, the more usable solution is MUCH, MUCH, MUCH harder to
                                                     > implement (remember: only 10 pages of code for the simple solution!), yet it
                                                     > is *NOT* MUCH, MUCH, MUCH easier to use. So it makes sense to go for the
                                                     > implementationally simpler solution. 
                                                     
                                                    [Lauren] 
                                                    I think this is a very relevant comment.  would your user rather have a "pretty good" product (in terms of usability) now, or an "awesome" product in 3 months time? 
                                                     
                                                    [Alain]
                                                     
                                                    I think you misunderstand what I meant by "MUCH, MUCH, MUCH harder to implement". The question is more:
                                                     
                                                    Would your user rather have a "pretty good" product now, or invest into one year of development with no assurance that the "awesome" product can be done?  
                                                     
                                                    [Lauren] yes i did understand, I completely agree, i was going for best case - worst case of course is the product is no better and is delivered late! I imagined everyone would have realised this was not guaranteed.
                                                     
                                                     
                                                  • Hugh Beyer
                                                    From: Jeff Patton [mailto:jpatton@acm.org] Sent: Wednesday, September 01, 2004 9:00 PM To: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com Subject: [agile-usability] Re: Could
                                                    Message 25 of 28 , Sep 2, 2004
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                                                      From: Jeff Patton [mailto:jpatton@...]
                                                      Sent: Wednesday, September 01, 2004 9:00 PM
                                                      To: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
                                                      Subject: [agile-usability] Re: Could UI Engineering have lead to Wiki?
                                                      --- In agile-usability@yahoogroups.com, Ron Jeffries
                                                      <ronjeffries@X...> wrote: 
                                                      . . . 
                                                      > As far as I know, there are no "steps" for invention. I would work
                                                      > intimately with people who had the problem, talking, doing paper
                                                      > prototypes, and showing them running tested software throughout.

                                                      I think there _are_ steps - sort of.  Not N steps that when followed
                                                      always work, but rather lots of dependent techniques that when
                                                      applied allow you to circle closer to solutions.  User centered
                                                      design stuff like roles and role models, personas, task models,
                                                      protoypes, collaboration, and conversation.  When in doubt, I pack my
                                                      head full of interesting information gleamed from these techniques
                                                      about the people the product serves and what I /really/ believe their
                                                      goals to be, then I sleep on it.  Invention often occurrs at some
                                                      later time, accidentally.  But, it's not so accidental when you
                                                      consider the fertile ground you gave it to grow in. 

                                                      I think there are lots of other ways to create fertile ground ground
                                                      for invention, and I'm confident you know lots yourself.  [if anyone
                                                      knows something about fertalizer creation it's Ron... ;-)]  I kinda
                                                      like this UCD stuff because it acknowledges there is something you
                                                      can do and provides some techniques that seem to be working - at
                                                      least for me.   
                                                      Right. What's key, is to bring the understanding of the technology and the user together. How you do that is up to you. Ron does it by getting out there and having lots of interaction with actual users. Jeff is using techniques such as roles and personas to articulate his understanding.
                                                       
                                                      It's fine to work off an unarticulated understanding of your users if you're alone or in a small team where everyone's working closely with each other and with the users. The more formal and explicit representations are useful as ways to talk to each other about what you're finding out; to record what you discover so you can come back to it later; and to explain to other stakeholders why you're doing what you're doing. A not inconsiderable advantage of having a room full of representations of the user is that it's real easy to show a skeptical manager why your design makes sense.
                                                       
                                                      I think you're like most "level 3" people - I think that's what
                                                      Alistair would call you.  You're smart enough, you listen well
                                                      enough, and think clearly enough that you do what seems to be the
                                                      most appropriate thing, and it often works out right.  If it doesn't
                                                      you learn and adjust.  I just don't think most folks are like you -
                                                      at least not yet.  Just as XP gives some "wax-on-wax-off" sorts of
                                                      guidelines for developers that ultimately help them evolve past the
                                                      practices into thinking more clearly about their craft, I belive UCD
                                                      provides a similar mental framework for designers to invent best
                                                      solutions to user's problems.  I don't belive it's the only way -
                                                      just as I don't believe it's necessary to develop good software test-
                                                      first.  But, just as I wouldn't write code without using a unit
                                                      testing framework, I wouldn't design without out applying at least
                                                      rudimentary UCD approaches. 
                                                      I would call what Ron describes user-centered design. UCD isn't about any particular technique, it's about designing the system from an intimate understanding of how the user works. Ron's describing a low-overhead way to do that involving lots of back-and-forth conversations and rapid iterations.
                                                       
                                                          Hugh
                                                       
                                                    • Chris Pehura
                                                      I use techniques and processes for invention and creativity. Refer to Innovation Creation ... From: Hugh Beyer [mailto:beyer@incent.com] Sent: Thursday,
                                                      Message 26 of 28 , Sep 3, 2004
                                                      • 0 Attachment
                                                        I use techniques and processes for invention and creativity. Refer to Innovation Creation
                                                        -----Original Message-----
                                                        From: Hugh Beyer [mailto:beyer@...]
                                                        Sent: Thursday, September 02, 2004 9:36 PM
                                                        To: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
                                                        Subject: RE: [agile-usability] Re: Could UI Engineering have lead to Wiki?

                                                        From: Jeff Patton [mailto:jpatton@...]
                                                        Sent: Wednesday, September 01, 2004 9:00 PM
                                                        To: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
                                                        Subject: [agile-usability] Re: Could UI Engineering have lead to Wiki?
                                                        --- In agile-usability@yahoogroups.com, Ron Jeffries
                                                        <ronjeffries@X...> wrote: 
                                                        . . . 
                                                        > As far as I know, there are no "steps" for invention. I would work
                                                        > intimately with people who had the problem, talking, doing paper
                                                        > prototypes, and showing them running tested software throughout.

                                                        I think there _are_ steps - sort of.  Not N steps that when followed
                                                        always work, but rather lots of dependent techniques that when
                                                        applied allow you to circle closer to solutions.  User centered
                                                        design stuff like roles and role models, personas, task models,
                                                        protoypes, collaboration, and conversation.  When in doubt, I pack my
                                                        head full of interesting information gleamed from these techniques
                                                        about the people the product serves and what I /really/ believe their
                                                        goals to be, then I sleep on it.  Invention often occurrs at some
                                                        later time, accidentally.  But, it's not so accidental when you
                                                        consider the fertile ground you gave it to grow in. 

                                                        I think there are lots of other ways to create fertile ground ground
                                                        for invention, and I'm confident you know lots yourself.  [if anyone
                                                        knows something about fertalizer creation it's Ron... ;-)]  I kinda
                                                        like this UCD stuff because it acknowledges there is something you
                                                        can do and provides some techniques that seem to be working - at
                                                        least for me.   
                                                        Right. What's key, is to bring the understanding of the technology and the user together. How you do that is up to you. Ron does it by getting out there and having lots of interaction with actual users. Jeff is using techniques such as roles and personas to articulate his understanding.
                                                         
                                                        It's fine to work off an unarticulated understanding of your users if you're alone or in a small team where everyone's working closely with each other and with the users. The more formal and explicit representations are useful as ways to talk to each other about what you're finding out; to record what you discover so you can come back to it later; and to explain to other stakeholders why you're doing what you're doing. A not inconsiderable advantage of having a room full of representations of the user is that it's real easy to show a skeptical manager why your design makes sense.
                                                         
                                                        I think you're like most "level 3" people - I think that's what
                                                        Alistair would call you.  You're smart enough, you listen well
                                                        enough, and think clearly enough that you do what seems to be the
                                                        most appropriate thing, and it often works out right.  If it doesn't
                                                        you learn and adjust.  I just don't think most folks are like you -
                                                        at least not yet.  Just as XP gives some "wax-on-wax-off" sorts of
                                                        guidelines for developers that ultimately help them evolve past the
                                                        practices into thinking more clearly about their craft, I belive UCD
                                                        provides a similar mental framework for designers to invent best
                                                        solutions to user's problems.  I don't belive it's the only way -
                                                        just as I don't believe it's necessary to develop good software test-
                                                        first.  But, just as I wouldn't write code without using a unit
                                                        testing framework, I wouldn't design without out applying at least
                                                        rudimentary UCD approaches. 
                                                        I would call what Ron describes user-centered design. UCD isn't about any particular technique, it's about designing the system from an intimate understanding of how the user works. Ron's describing a low-overhead way to do that involving lots of back-and-forth conversations and rapid iterations.
                                                         
                                                            Hugh
                                                         

                                                      • Dave Cronin
                                                        In my experience, true invention is the spark that leaps across the gap which deductive/analytical thinking cannot. So in this way, there is no process to
                                                        Message 27 of 28 , Sep 7, 2004
                                                        • 0 Attachment
                                                          In my experience, true invention is the spark that leaps across the gap
                                                          which deductive/analytical thinking cannot. So in this way, there is no
                                                          process to achieve invention.

                                                          There are, however, many effective techniques for supporting the
                                                          creative process by keeping it somewhat targeted, predictable and by
                                                          tracking a solution's justification, fitness and ramifications.

                                                          Supporting creativity with strong process and technique is critical if
                                                          you consider yourself to be a professional at being inventive. The
                                                          alternative is almost guaranteed churn and disorder. Which is (while
                                                          possibly romantic to the "artist") not at all effective in the mostly
                                                          rationalist world of design.



                                                          > -----Original Message-----
                                                          > From: Ron Jeffries [mailto:ronjeffries@...]
                                                          > Subject: Re: [agile-usability] Re: Could UI Engineering have
                                                          > lead to Wiki?
                                                          >
                                                          > On Wednesday, September 1, 2004, at 5:50:28 PM, Jeff Patton wrote:
                                                          > > I'd be curious how you'd go about inventing something as
                                                          > appropriate
                                                          > > as a wiki? What steps would you go through to discover what a best
                                                          > > solution might be?
                                                          >
                                                          > As far as I know, there are no "steps" for invention. I would
                                                          > work intimately with people who had the problem, talking,
                                                          > doing paper prototypes, and showing them running tested
                                                          > software throughout. I'd try not to lock in technically or
                                                          > otherwise, on anything.
                                                          >
                                                          > I'm not sure it would lead to a "best" solution, nor that a
                                                          > "best" solution is possible, or even well-defined. I'm sure
                                                          > it would lead to something that met the needs in cost and
                                                          > function as well as the assembled multitudes were able to imagine.
                                                          >
                                                        • Chris Pehura
                                                          Here s an innovation process. Refer to www.triz-journal.com ... From: Dave Cronin [mailto:dave@cooper.com] Sent: Tuesday, September 07, 2004 11:15 AM To:
                                                          Message 28 of 28 , Sep 7, 2004
                                                          • 0 Attachment
                                                            Here's an innovation process. Refer to www.triz-journal.com
                                                            -----Original Message-----
                                                            From: Dave Cronin [mailto:dave@...]
                                                            Sent: Tuesday, September 07, 2004 11:15 AM
                                                            To: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
                                                            Subject: RE: [agile-usability] Re: Could UI Engineering have lead to Wiki?

                                                            In my experience, true invention is the spark that leaps across the gap
                                                            which deductive/analytical thinking cannot. So in this way, there is no
                                                            process to achieve invention.

                                                            There are, however, many effective techniques for supporting the
                                                            creative process by keeping it somewhat targeted, predictable and by
                                                            tracking a solution's justification, fitness and ramifications.

                                                            Supporting creativity with strong process and technique is critical if
                                                            you consider yourself to be a professional at being inventive. The
                                                            alternative is almost guaranteed churn and disorder. Which is (while
                                                            possibly romantic to the "artist") not at all effective in the mostly
                                                            rationalist world of design.



                                                            > -----Original Message-----
                                                            > From: Ron Jeffries [mailto:ronjeffries@...]
                                                            > Subject: Re: [agile-usability] Re: Could UI Engineering have
                                                            > lead to Wiki?
                                                            >
                                                            > On Wednesday, September 1, 2004, at 5:50:28 PM, Jeff Patton wrote:
                                                            > > I'd be curious how you'd go about inventing something as
                                                            > appropriate
                                                            > > as a wiki?  What steps would you go through to discover what a best
                                                            > > solution might be?
                                                            >
                                                            > As far as I know, there are no "steps" for invention. I would
                                                            > work intimately with people who had the problem, talking,
                                                            > doing paper prototypes, and showing them running tested
                                                            > software throughout. I'd try not to lock in technically or
                                                            > otherwise, on anything.
                                                            >
                                                            > I'm not sure it would lead to a "best" solution, nor that a
                                                            > "best" solution is possible, or even well-defined. I'm sure
                                                            > it would lead to something that met the needs in cost and
                                                            > function as well as the assembled multitudes were able to imagine.
                                                            >


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