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XP and radical GUI change (UCD revisited)

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  • azami@speakeasy.net
    Okay, the recent discussions about UCD got me thinking. One example that came up was the users complaining about the load times on screens. The developers
    Message 1 of 4 , Jun 1, 2001
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      Okay, the recent discussions about UCD got me thinking. One example
      that came up was the users complaining about the load times on
      screens. The developers worked hard to improve the performance, when
      what was really needed was a new usage paradigm - one in which those
      screens weren't really needed. I added a non-tech metaphor: the
      developers were trying to find a way to move faster through swampland,
      when they could have taken a road.

      The XP-uninformed article we've been slamming this morning
      (http://www.sdmagazine.com/articles/2001/0106/0106c/0106c.htm) got me
      thinking even more about it.

      So, how _does_ XP deal with this? I've done a story, then another
      story, and so on, and now this dialog is overloaded so I split it into
      tabs, yada, yada, yada, and the UI just keeps getting more complex,
      when maybe it would be simpler if the dialog didn't exist at all.

      Who identifies this as a problem? Who looks for a solution? Where is
      the UI redesign decision made, and where is it designed?

      I'm inclined to say it's the customer's problem and not addressed by
      XP. To prevent this, the customer ought to be (or retain) a
      top-notch UI designer. But I still worry that in this regard XP may
      lose sight of the forest for the trees - the customer says "make these
      screens load faster", and we do so without encouragement to ask, "are
      these screens really even needed?"

      My fear is that the things that make radical code redesign possible -
      simplicity, refactoring, pairing, etc - are less available and less
      helpful when it comes to radical UI redesign. In code, developers
      just notice and say, "hey, the design would be a lot simpler this way"
      and do it. Is there some equivalent for "hey, the UI would be a lot
      simpler this way"?

      -Matthew
      azami@...
    • Larry Constantine
      Mathew wrote ... This is precisely why we have long argued that the entire development team needs to understand usability basics and have some practice in UI
      Message 2 of 4 , Jun 2, 2001
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        Mathew wrote

        > Okay, the recent discussions about UCD got me thinking.
        ...
        > So, how _does_ XP deal with this? I've done a story, then another
        > story, and so on, and now this dialog is overloaded so I split it into
        > tabs, yada, yada, yada, and the UI just keeps getting more complex,
        > when maybe it would be simpler if the dialog didn't exist at all.
        >
        > Who identifies this as a problem? Who looks for a solution? Where is
        > the UI redesign decision made, and where is it designed?
        >
        > I'm inclined to say it's the customer's problem and not addressed by
        > XP. To prevent this, the customer ought to be (or retain) a
        > top-notch UI designer. But I still worry that in this regard XP may
        > lose sight of the forest for the trees - the customer says "make these
        > screens load faster", and we do so without encouragement to ask, "are
        > these screens really even needed?"

        This is precisely why we have long argued that the entire development team
        needs to understand usability basics and have some practice in UI design,
        preferably based on user tasks. Even in projects where there is a UI
        designer, a high percentage of the nitty-gritty of the UI gets
        designed/decided by whoever cuts the code.

        It's about being a top-notch professional. Programs (most at least) are
        written to be used by people. Knowing how to present and organize
        information and to sequence actions on the front end facing the user is as
        much a part of programming as knowing what makes sense on the back end.

        This matter is one of the things separating our approach from many others.
        We think programmers can and should learn this stuff and have been teaching
        them for years. And, there is still space in our upcoming seminar. :-)

        --Larry Constantine
        Director of Research & Development | Constantine & Lockwood, Ltd.
        58 Kathleen Circle | Rowley, MA 01969
        t: +1 978 948 5012 | f: +1 978 948 5036 | www.foruse.com
      • Ron Jeffries
        ... Gush. Totally agree, of course. Generalists give the project more flexibility. Capable generalists make the project better. ... Y know, I d actually like
        Message 3 of 4 , Jun 3, 2001
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          Responding to Larry Constantine (01:02 AM 6/3/2001 -0400):
          >This is precisely why we have long argued that the entire development team
          >needs to understand usability basics and have some practice in UI design,
          >preferably based on user tasks. Even in projects where there is a UI
          >designer, a high percentage of the nitty-gritty of the UI gets
          >designed/decided by whoever cuts the code.

          Gush. Totally agree, of course. Generalists give the project more
          flexibility. Capable generalists make the project better.

          >It's about being a top-notch professional. Programs (most at least) are
          >written to be used by people. Knowing how to present and organize
          >information and to sequence actions on the front end facing the user is as
          >much a part of programming as knowing what makes sense on the back end.
          >
          >This matter is one of the things separating our approach from many others.
          >We think programmers can and should learn this stuff and have been teaching
          >them for years. And, there is still space in our upcoming seminar. :-)

          Y'know, I'd actually like to attend one. Pointer, please?

          Ronald E Jeffries
          http://www.XProgramming.com
          http://www.objectmentor.com
        • Larry Constantine
          ... The full-week training is 25-29 June, details at www.foruse.com/seminars.htm. (It s likely not to be repeated until next year.) We extended the $500
          Message 4 of 4 , Jun 3, 2001
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            Ron Jeffries wrote:

            > Y'know, I'd actually like to attend one. Pointer, please?

            The full-week training is 25-29 June, details at
            www.foruse.com/seminars.htm. (It's likely not to be repeated until next
            year.) We extended the $500 early-bird discount--still open to eGroup
            participants. Would love to see you or any other XPers there.

            --Larry Constantine
            Director of Research & Development | Constantine & Lockwood, Ltd.
            58 Kathleen Circle | Rowley, MA 01969
            t: +1 978 948 5012 | f: +1 978 948 5036 | www.foruse.com
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