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Re: [agile-usability] Re: Could UI Engineering have lead to Wiki?

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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 7 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 8 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 9 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 10 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.
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                        >
                        > --------------------------------------------------------------
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                        >
                        >
                        >
                      • 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 11 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 12 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 13 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 14 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 15 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 16 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 17 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 18 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 19 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 20 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 21 of 28 , Sep 3, 2004
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                                              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 22 of 28 , Sep 7, 2004
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                                                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 23 of 28 , Sep 7, 2004
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                                                  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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