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RE: [agile-usability] Re: [XP] XP and Big Interaction Design UpFront

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  • Dave Cronin
    Most of the bad effects that we ve seen from running research and the initial design phase (what we call the Interaction Framework ) alongside development
    Message 1 of 5 , Sep 1, 2004
      Most of the bad effects that we've seen from running research and the
      initial design phase (what we call the "Interaction Framework")
      alongside development have to do with premature technical decisions
      about things like platform, architecture, and data model. While I
      haven't worked with many true blue XP shops, my experience is that these
      things are difficult and expensive to modify or "refactor".

      Despite some wild allegations made yesterday about "skins" and the like,
      human-software interaction is about much more than the spatial
      arrangement and color scheme of the "presentation layer." Most good
      software has serious juju at the application layer-- intelligence about
      what a user is trying to accomplish which inflects the software to help
      achieve good results. I'm sure you can imagine how this kind of
      application smarts requires some sophistication that runs much deeper
      than the GUI

      For some decent and accessible examples of this kind of thing, check out
      OmniGraffle's SmartGuides or SketchUp 3D's "intelligent inferencing".
      (http://www.omnigroup.com/applications/omnigraffle/,
      http://www.sketchup.com/) (And of course this kind of thing is relevant
      to more than drawing software-- I just picked these because it's obvious
      what's going on with them.)

      And as far as those conversations between Cooper and Beck, I think they
      were both doing their best to demonstrate the gulf between the
      viewpoints, which I suppose was appropriate back then when a lot of the
      industry was just coming to terms with both of these approaches. I think
      we've gotten to a point where it makes sense to look for some
      cross-pollination and middle ground.

      -dave



      > -----Original Message-----
      > From: William Pietri [mailto:william@...]
      > Sent: Wednesday, September 01, 2004 10:56 AM
      > To: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
      > Cc: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
      > Subject: RE: [agile-usability] Re: [XP] XP and Big
      > Interaction Design UpFront
      >
      >
      > On Wed, 2004-09-01 at 10:42, Dave Cronin wrote:
      > > > As far as I understand, it is strongly against iteration
      > development
      > > > for building a coherent approach to interaction among users and
      > > > programs.
      > >
      > > Around here, we generally believe that while iteration
      > development may
      > > be a highly effective way to build software, as well as determine
      > > low-level requirements and interface designs, there is a
      > better way to
      > > initially define a product and develop a high-level
      > interaction design
      > > which involves upfront user, business and technical
      > research, analysis
      > > and synthesis.
      >
      > Interesting! That's a different impression than I had from,
      > say, reading the interactions between Cooper and Beck. What
      > bad effects have you seen from doing the planning in parallel
      > with an agile development process, rather than your preferred
      > sequential approach?
      >
      > Thanks,
      >
      > William
      >
      >
      >
      >
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    • Phlip
      ... Did I say that? ===== Phlip http://industrialxp.org/community/bin/view/Main/TestFirstUserInterfaces __________________________________ Do you Yahoo!?
      Message 2 of 5 , Sep 1, 2004
        Dave Cronin wrote:

        > Despite some wild allegations made yesterday about
        > "skins" and the like,
        > human-software interaction is about much more than
        > the spatial
        > arrangement and color scheme of the "presentation
        > layer."

        Did I say that?



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



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      • Petteri Hiisilä
        ... I m afraid you did :) I don t know if you really meant that, though... But you left us with an impression that you did :) - Petteri
        Message 3 of 5 , Sep 1, 2004
          Phlip wrote:

          > Dave Cronin wrote:
          >
          > > Despite some wild allegations made yesterday about
          > > "skins" and the like,
          > > human-software interaction is about much more than
          > > the spatial
          > > arrangement and color scheme of the "presentation
          > > layer."
          >
          > Did I say that?
          >
          I'm afraid you did :)

          I don't know if you really meant that, though... But you left us with an
          impression that you did :)

          - Petteri
        • Phlip
          ... I said, I propose (entirely to make everyone need to hire more programmers like me) that programs should version with skins, so each user population gets
          Message 4 of 5 , Sep 1, 2004
            Petteri_Hiisil� wrote:

            > Phlip wrote:

            > > Did I say that?
            > >
            > I'm afraid you did :)
            >
            > I don't know if you really meant that, though... But
            > you left us with an
            > impression that you did :)

            I said, "I propose (entirely to make everyone need to
            hire more programmers like me) that programs should
            version with skins, so each user population gets the
            skin they like."

            I did not say each skin had the same click path over
            trivially different art and layout. I am aware some
            pluggable skins provide that.

            So, maybe if we had a boring data entry form, and we
            configured it to support two locales, would that be a
            "wild allegation"?

            No? Okay, how about calling the locale configuration
            thing a "skin". Is something wrong with that?

            Or how about a Wiki that supports both a stand-alone
            server and a CGI server. The user can perceive the
            difference. Are they "skins"?

            Or suppose my onsite usability expert requested a user
            interface surface with pluggable art and layout
            modules. Would writing them test-first, and
            constraining them with acceptance tests, be
            irresponsible?

            (BTW the boring data entry form's two skins are
            English and Sanskrit. Wild, huh?;)

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



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          • William Pietri
            ... Interesting. My experience so far has been that if things like architecture and data model are built in an agile, incremental fashion and the most
            Message 5 of 5 , Sep 1, 2004
              On Wed, 2004-09-01 at 11:57, Dave Cronin wrote:
              > Most of the bad effects that we've seen from running research and the
              > initial design phase (what we call the "Interaction Framework")
              > alongside development have to do with premature technical decisions
              > about things like platform, architecture, and data model. While I
              > haven't worked with many true blue XP shops, my experience is that these
              > things are difficult and expensive to modify or "refactor".

              Interesting. My experience so far has been that if things like
              architecture and data model are built in an agile, incremental fashion
              and the most important things are built first, refactoring later is much
              cheaper than waiting for clarity. It takes a skilled team, though;
              novices may be unable to defer questions like, "Should we use a
              database?" My current team has managed to avoid answering that for eight
              months.

              I'm not quite sure what you mean by platform; that's a broad term. If a
              client is still unsure whether they want a web site or a custom wireless
              handheld device, I'd agree it's probably too early to start the
              front-end development. Or more generally, if it's too early in the
              project to pick even two of the developers you'd need, it's too early to
              start construction.

              On the other hand, although I've participated in a lot of half-baked
              product discussions, I've never seen one where somebody was ready to put
              money down and where I couldn't pull out at least a week of work that
              was relatively stable. And after that, it's always my experience that
              people can think of features far faster than I can build them.

              On one project, for example, the first three stories were

              * guest views home page
              * user logs in
              * user logs out

              With all the shenanigans involved in setting up a new project, starting
              development, and getting something onto production servers the first
              time, this took two weeks. At which point enough research and design had
              happened that there were several more cards ready.

              Of course, all this is just my experience; it's a big world out there.


              > And as far as those conversations between Cooper and Beck, I think
              > they were both doing their best to demonstrate the gulf between the
              > viewpoints, which I suppose was appropriate back then when a lot of
              > the industry was just coming to terms with both of these approaches. I
              > think we've gotten to a point where it makes sense to look for some
              > cross-pollination and middle ground.

              Agreed!

              In fact, since you're in the SF area, you should come by for lunch and
              chat with the team, including the product designer. XP is hard to
              imagine unless you've seen it working. Contact me off-list to arrange
              it.

              William
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