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RE: [agile-usability] Rapid Contextual Design?

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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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