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What's in a name? - agile-usability isn't what I meant...

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  • Jeff Patton
    Happy birthday agile-usability! Without fanfare, this list past it s 5 year mark. Which is really saying something since I ve seen a number of lists come and
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 25, 2009
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      Happy birthday agile-usability!

      Without fanfare, this list past it's 5 year mark. Which is really saying something since I've seen a number of lists come and go over the years.

      At prompting from a friend (Chris Matts I think it was) I created the group 5 years ago, and wrote the intro it now has on the home page. I now have a very different understanding of vocabulary and concepts than I did then. I think I have a bit better understanding of the design community now as well. (more on that here: http://www.agileproductdesign.com/blog/before_during_and_after.html) And, what's more, I'm sure that understanding and terminology will be different 5 years from now. In fact, it may not survive the weekend.

      All this is to say, that what I meant when I started the list wasn't really usability, but "design" - which is bit of a messy word depending on who you say it to. While I see usability as an important characteristic of software - and usability practitioners share concerns and some approaches with designers - it's design thinking and design approaches and how they work in agile that I really intended to talk about.

      To give my definition of design I like the way my friend Alistair said it: "if it's your decision to make, it's design. If it's not, it's a requirement." For me design starts at deciding what to build - goes all the way back to the product decisions made by product managers, all the way through to feature decisions, and all the way into the code. Mostly I wanted to jettison the idea of asking users and stakeholders what they want, and building it without working hard to understand them and what's valuable to them. And, using that deeper understanding, and our skills with software, to arrive at really valuable products.

      So, to cut the rambling, I don't like this group name, or it's intro. Conversation in the group seems to be mostly about the right subjects - but the I wonder if the way it's packaged causes possible consumers not to find the group or use the forum incorrectly.

      I'd like your thoughts on that.


      Jeff Patton
      blog: www.agileproductdesign.com/blog
      Passionate Product Owner Training: http://www.agileproductdesign.com/training/passionate_product_owner.html
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