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Re: [agile-usability] Rapid Contextual Design?

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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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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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