Re: [agile-usability] Re: where do your UX team-members sit?
On 02/08/2011 08:36 AM, hughrbeyer wrote:
It's rarely more than a week between the time a UI is coded and some real user sees it and responds to it. It's not that I know I'm cheating the user--it's that when I'm living in the code what seems clearly correct just isn't, from the user's point of view. I don't do this much anymore, having become aware of it, but when I did I wasn't aware of making a trade-off. It wasn't until later, viewing it with a user in the context of a task that I even realized there was a question.
Ah, exactly. I think it's the feedback that's necessary to keep developers from falling into that trap.
If I'm pair programming, another programmer will catch my mistakes in minutes. If that fails, because I'm working closely with non-programmers, it's rarely more than a couple of hours before a product or design person sees my work. And because we ship frequently, we get quick feedback on whether interface changes accomplished their intent.
In that high-feedback context, I think it's pretty hard for developers to ignore users on a regular basis. Which is why, bringing it back to the thread's original topic, I think no developer should be farther away from a designer or product manager than the range of a slightly raised voice or a casual wave.
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.