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Re: [agile-usability] Design Values

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  • Todd Zaki Warfel
    ... Herein lies one of the reasons that Agile has such a bad name in the UX community—the expressed attitude that user research (what I refer to as design)
    Message 1 of 37 , Jul 12, 2009
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      On Jul 12, 2009, at 8:02 PM, Ron Jeffries wrote:

      It seems to me very unlikely that Larry Constantine is under a misconception about what user experience research is. I'm submitting a defect report on you for this one.

      Herein lies one of the reasons that Agile has such a bad name in the UX community—the expressed attitude that user research (what I refer to as design) research provides little if any value. That perspective is in fact deeply flawed. 

      User research or design research, when conducted correctly, provides considerably more value than the time and effort it costs. Design research can come in a variety of flavors. One of the most valuable is contextual research (ethno-graphic based interviews). Go watch people and talk to them in their native environments. You'll be amazed at what you'll learn by talking to a human vs. looking at weblogs, or survey data (two other common design research methods).

      Yes, SMEs can be used as part of the data collection process, but they're only one data point in the process. 

      One of the reasons I got involved with the agile community in the first place was to try and show UX practitioners that agile methods can help their UX practice and to show agile practitioners the value of user/design research. 

      The self-stated fact that Larry cannot imagine user research contributing to making the cited projects any better shows that his perspective is flawed from the outset. 

      I agree with Larry that you have to determine the best use of your resources given your constraints. And I'm not advocating 6 month long investigations. I'm talking about conducting in some cases guerilla UX research that will not only inform your design, but give you ammo to fend off those derailing stakeholder discussions that steer toward scope creep and missed deadlines. 

      Further, over reliance on SMEs is just as dangerous as doing no research or doing too much. They're an important data point, but I wouldn't be my farm on them. 

      Finally, while I don't know Ives personally, I interpret Apple's not following SMEs as being something that's evident by their design model—they ignore analysts, industry experts, and what others are doing. They march to their own drum often in direct opposition to SMEs. 


      Cheers!

      Todd Zaki Warfel
      Principal Design Researcher
      Messagefirst | Designing Information. Beautifully.
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      In practice, they are not.




    • Jeremy Kriegel
      One of Jeff s points resonated strongly with me. To put it flippantly, no one cares how we build products, just how much they get from using them. Ideally, the
      Message 37 of 37 , Jul 27, 2009
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        One of Jeff's points resonated strongly with me. To put it flippantly, no one cares how we build products, just how much they get from using them. Ideally, the way we work makes us happy, makes our customers happy, and makes our bosses happy. (note: money is often a significant component of said happiness)

        Adherence to the process can be almost comical. At a prior company, when talking to someone about why they missed their release deadline (yeah, I know. Agile and deadlines are not the best of friends) he explained that a certain activity had to be done 2 sprints prior to release, but that its associated story got cut from the sprint it needed to happen in. Clearly, there is a lot at work here that I'm not going to bother to dissect, but this team was more focused on the agile process than the success of the product and the perceptions of the company leadership. It was not pretty. 

        -jer

        "Be well, do good work & keep in touch."
            - Garrison Keillor


        On Sun, Jul 26, 2009 at 11:00 PM, Ron Jeffries <ronjeffries@...> wrote:
         

        Hello, John. On Sunday, July 26, 2009, at 10:53:07 PM, you wrote:

        > Heh. It would never occur to me to recommend something that I wasn't
        > doing myself.

        I often recommend exercise and eating sensibly ... War remains the decisive human failure.
        -- John Kenneth Galbraith


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