Re: [agile-usability] Re: where do your UX team-members sit?
- Interesting point, Hugh! One question:
On 02/07/2011 07:36 AM, hughrbeyer wrote:
So speaking for myself, I'm a damn good developer and a reasonably good designer. I can design an interface that's simple and works; and if I don't get too ambitious, I can design a reasonable-looking UI. The kicker is I absolutely cannot do both at the same time. I can't be a good UI designer on my own code. Not unless I do all my UI design up front, then switch hats, take the UI design as a given, and start coding it. The reason is that it's just too easy to make bad UX trade-offs when you're in the code. When you're in the code, the code architecture is so compelling, and so elegant in itself, that it's almost impossible to keep it from influencing the UI in inappropriate ways. When I see that I can simplify the code by changing a UI element, and that the change makes the code much more elegant so that all the parts fit together like a machine, it's very hard to resist making the change. Then I take the design to a user and he or she says "What the hell is this?" and now I'm living in the user experience and I say, sheepishly, "Damned if I know. Kinda stupid, isn't it?"
I'm curious about the length of your feedback loops here. So what's the amount of time between you making a UI change and that change being seen by:
- another developer,
- a product person, and
- the user?
I ask because for me the feedback loops are pretty short, which strongly reduces any inclination I have to cheat the user.
Wait, I'm going to make it two questions: do you practice TDD?
I work at a medium sized company. We have three designers and five developers, all who sit in close confines. From reading the posts lately I wonder if we handle design and development differently.
It seems (and I may be horribly wrong) that the arguments are mainly against big, up front design. I absolutely agree. However, I don't think that having designers do designs prior to development is a bad thing, if done well and there's plenty of communication.
We have one month release cycles, which means we're getting real, working software into our clients hands very quickly, and get feedback quickly as well. We do paired design, so two designers will sit down and shake out most of the design. This can take anywhere from a day to a week and a half depending on the size of the story. During this time we meet with developers several times so they know where the design is going, point out technical road blocks, and yes, give design input. Then we hand it over to get coded, and during this time the designers work closely with the developer who's handling the story to answer questions and work out real time design questions.
So the designers do a bulk of the design (I'd say 95%), but there's no huge outlay of up front design. We do it all 'just in time'. Designs get input from developers, product owners, and other stakeholders. The mock up's may go through three or four iterations before they reach development, all within a few days time.
I'm not saying that developers cannot design, I think many can to varying degrees. We've just found that paired design done just prior to development, and working in close proximity to each other has allowed us to create great designs quickly.
On 12/4/10 4:33 PM, Tref Gare wrote:
Our environment is the opposite – we huddle our ux folk together which does give us the cross pollination thing, but means we miss out on the embedded engagement with the developers. I’d love to find some form of middle ground where I get to regularly mind meld with my design colleagues, but also am in there with the devs when the design hits the metal.