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Rapid Contextual Design?

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  • Jeff Patton
    The UCD people on the list might have heard of Holtzblatt & Wood s new Rapid Contextual Design. Can anyone comment on it? Is it just fast? Or can we look at
    Message 1 of 7 , Jan 10, 2005
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      The UCD people on the list might have heard of Holtzblatt & Wood's
      new Rapid Contextual Design. Can anyone comment on it?

      Is it just fast? Or can we look at it as an agilization of
      Contextual Design - by that I mean it deals with strategies for
      incremental release and iterative development specifically.

      thanks,

      -Jeff
    • Desilets, Alain
      I have never tried either CD or RCD, but I like what I read about it. I particularly like the fact that they focus on studying and understanding workpractices
      Message 2 of 7 , Jan 11, 2005
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        I have never tried either CD or RCD, but I like what I read about it. I
        particularly like the fact that they focus on studying and understanding
        workpractices as opposed to "requirements". In other words, you first try to
        REALLY, REALLY understand the work that people are currently doing that your
        software will have to support or complement or fit with. THEN, and only THEN
        do you start thinking about features and requirements.

        One of the interesting things about this approach is that it seems more
        generative. Once you understand the user's work, you can imagine all kinds
        of new innovative ways that S/W could support that work, and then test those
        ideas with the users.

        Alain Désilets, MASc
        Agent de recherches/Research Officer
        Institut de technologie de l'information du CNRC /
        NRC Institute for Information Technology

        alain.desilets@...
        Tél/Tel (613) 990-2813
        Facsimile/télécopieur: (613) 952-7151

        Conseil national de recherches Canada, M50, 1200 chemin Montréal,
        Ottawa (Ontario) K1A 0R6
        National Research Council Canada, M50, 1200 Montreal Rd., Ottawa, ON
        K1A 0R6

        Gouvernement du Canada | Government of Canada



        -----Original Message-----
        From: Jeff Patton [mailto:jpatton@...]
        Sent: Monday, January 10, 2005 4:02 PM
        To: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [agile-usability] Rapid Contextual Design?




        The UCD people on the list might have heard of Holtzblatt & Wood's
        new Rapid Contextual Design. Can anyone comment on it?

        Is it just fast? Or can we look at it as an agilization of
        Contextual Design - by that I mean it deals with strategies for
        incremental release and iterative development specifically.

        thanks,

        -Jeff






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      • dave broschinsky
        We were one of the case studies for the book. We are using contextual design more asynchronously, storing the data for future use. This works in our case - as
        Message 3 of 7 , Jan 11, 2005
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          We were one of the case studies for the book. We are using contextual
          design more asynchronously, storing the data for future use. This works
          in our case - as a maker of retail software - because our "customer" is
          more stable than trying to be build custom software.

          What can be done to make contextual design more agile is the turnaround
          on the prototypes. One of the things we hope to accomplish is to move
          our prototyping into the iteration cycle (well actually ahead of the
          iteration cycle but on the same schedule). This allows us to use cheap
          paper and pen before we have the cost of code. By having prototypes
          available before hand, we are also able to make sure that tests are
          written with the prototype in mind.

          dave broschinsky
          senior interaction designer
          landesk software, inc.
        • Hugh Beyer
          _____ From: Desilets, Alain [mailto:alain.desilets@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca] Sent: Tuesday, January 11, 2005 8:50 AM To: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com Subject: RE:
          Message 4 of 7 , Jan 21, 2005
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            From: Desilets, Alain [mailto:alain.desilets@...]
            Sent: Tuesday, January 11, 2005 8:50 AM
            To: 'agile-usability@yahoogroups.com'
            Subject: RE: [agile-usability] Rapid Contextual Design?

            I have never tried either CD or RCD, but I like what I read about it. I
            particularly like the fact that they focus on studying and understanding
            workpractices as opposed to "requirements". In other words, you first try to
            REALLY, REALLY understand the work that people are currently doing that your
            software will have to support or complement or fit with. THEN, and only THEN
            do you start thinking about features and requirements.

            One of the interesting things about this approach is that it seems more
            generative. Once you understand the user's work, you can imagine all kinds
            of new innovative ways that S/W could support that work, and then test those
            ideas with the users. 
             
            Yes, absolutely. This is actually the origin of Contextual Inquiry--how do you come up with innovative product concepts? John Whiteside at DEC challenged Karen to answer that question about 15 years ago now. Contextual Inquiry, and eventually Contextual Design, was the answer.
             
                Hugh
             
          • Hugh Beyer
            Hey, Jeff. Parachuted back in just in time to see this message. Yes, ways of synchronizing with agile methods are covered in this book but it s not the book s
            Message 5 of 7 , Jan 21, 2005
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              Hey, Jeff. Parachuted back in just in time to see this message. Yes, ways of synchronizing with agile methods are covered in this book but it's not the book's main focus--the main focus is to show how CD is (almost always) lightened up in practice to meet the needs of different projects.
               
                  Hugh (business partner with the book's first author)


              From: Jeff Patton [mailto:jpatton@...]
              Sent: Monday, January 10, 2005 4:02 PM
              To: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: [agile-usability] Rapid Contextual Design?


              The UCD people on the list might have heard of Holtzblatt & Wood's
              new Rapid Contextual Design.  Can anyone comment on it? 

              Is it just fast?  Or can we look at it as an agilization of
              Contextual Design - by that I mean it deals with strategies for
              incremental release and iterative development specifically.

              thanks,

              -Jeff




            • Hugh Beyer
              _____ From: dave broschinsky [mailto:daveb@startide.net] Sent: Tuesday, January 11, 2005 12:44 PM To: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com Subject: Re:
              Message 6 of 7 , Jan 21, 2005
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                From: dave broschinsky [mailto:daveb@...]
                Sent: Tuesday, January 11, 2005 12:44 PM
                To: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
                Subject: Re: [agile-usability] Rapid Contextual Design?

                We were one of the case studies for the book. We are using contextual
                design more asynchronously, storing the data for future use.  This works
                in our case - as a maker of retail software - because our "customer" is
                more stable than trying to be build custom software.

                What can be done to make contextual design more agile is the turnaround
                on the prototypes.  One of the things we hope to accomplish is to move
                our prototyping into the iteration cycle (well actually ahead of the
                iteration cycle but on the same schedule).  This allows us to use cheap
                paper and pen before we have the cost of code.  By having prototypes
                available before hand, we are also able to make sure that tests are
                written with the prototype in mind.

                dave broschinsky
                senior interaction designer
                landesk software, inc.

                 
                Yes, do this. We're now doing this with an XP team in another company--multiple paper prototype iteractions done by the customer team during an iteration; then the findings from those iterations are turned into user stories in time to feed the next iteration. Works a treat.
                 
                    Hugh
                 
              • Jeff Patton
                ... team ... turned into ... I saw Lisa & Dave speak at LanDesk last week and wrote down something Lisa said: I find the prototype to be a good discussion
                Message 7 of 7 , Jan 27, 2005
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                  --- In agile-usability@yahoogroups.com, "Hugh Beyer" <beyer@i...>
                  wrote:

                  > Yes, do this. We're now doing this with an XP team in another
                  > company--multiple paper prototype iteractions done by the customer
                  team
                  > during an iteration; then the findings from those iterations are
                  turned into
                  > user stories in time to feed the next iteration. Works a treat.

                  I saw Lisa & Dave speak at LanDesk last week and wrote down something
                  Lisa said:

                  "I find the prototype to be a good discussion point. If I don't have
                  it the discussion takes a lot longer."

                  Two things struck me - the importance of prototyping - and the
                  importance of conversation/communication.

                  I've seen this play out recently as well. We thrash a lot longer
                  over details when we don't have a prototype - a picture - to talk
                  over. The resulting software doesn't always end up looking exactly
                  like the prototype, but we spend a lot less time thrashing if we all
                  see the same things in our head first. For us UI prototyping is
                  becoming a critical step - or rather has become expensive to side-
                  step.

                  -Jeff
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