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Usability - Call for papers - Cutter IT Journal

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  • Deb
    Cross-post from AgileModeling@topica: I ve recently been reasoning out how Scrum manages risk, and one way is through active End User involvement... seems
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 16 9:33 PM
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      Cross-post from AgileModeling@topica:

      I've recently been reasoning out how Scrum manages risk, and one way
      is through active End User involvement... seems Scrum might have
      something interesting to say on Usability, although it would also
      depend on the analysis practises you use inside your Sprints.

      I'd encourage those with Usability experience to consider taking this
      on, singly or in groups. Or perhaps someone is already working on it?

      Here it is, fyi
      - deb

      ============================
      Below is the call for papers from Guest Editor Carolyn Snyder
      for the special October 2003 issue of the *Cutter IT Journal* on
      Software Usability. Articles are due on 18 August 2003. We are
      pleased to offer Journal authors a year's complimentary subscription
      and 10 copies of the issue in which they are published. In
      addition, we occasionally pull excerpts, along with the author's
      bio, to include in our weekly Cutter Edge e-mail bulletin, which
      reaches another 8,000 readers. We'd also be pleased to quote you,
      or passages from your article, in Cutter press releases. If you
      plan to be speaking at industry conferences, we can arrange to
      make additional copies of the issue in which you're published
      available for attendees of those speaking engagements - furthering
      your own promotional efforts.

      Bruce Lynch
      Group Publisher, Cutter Consortium
      781.641.5126
      bly-@...
      ________________________________________________________

      Software Usability

      High-tech companies are hard pressed to remain profitable, aware
      that they must adapt to our tough economic climate or die. End users
      are also becoming ever more savvy about what they want and need.
      Increasingly, survival depends on getting the product right the first
      time -
      relying on the 2.0 release to incorporate customer feedback is a
      recipe
      for disaster.

      In its broadest sense, software usability means involving end users
      during the development process to ensure that the product meets their
      needs. Most IT organizations recognize that software usability is
      important,
      but in practice there are many barriers to the adoption of user-
      centered
      methods in the development process. When schedules are already tight
      and training budgets non-existent, introducing new methods can be
      difficult.

      Although some companies have usability specialists on staff, others
      must
      rely on software engineers, tech writers, or other team members to
      fulfill the
      usability role along with their other duties. Some people resist
      because
      they're
      uncertain how to begin. Even companies who have incorporated user-
      centered
      methods may worry that they're not doing enough, or that they're not
      being as
      efficient as they could be.

      Since many of the following themes can be controversial, in addition
      to
      single-authored articles we are inviting co-authors who have opposing
      viewpoints
      to submit joint articles. (Also, PLEASE NOTE that articles should be
      about
      SOFTWARE usability and NOT WEB usability.) Here are some suggestions
      for article themes for this issue:

      * Overview of user-centered methods appropriate to software
      development:
      personas, use cases, task analysis, prototyping, usability testing,
      etc.

      * Case studies of software projects that produced significant
      (preferably measurable) results from user-centered activities

      * An explanation of how usability methods compare with traditional
      marketing methods. For instance, when would you use a focus group
      vs. a usability test?

      * How do you decide which type(s) of user-centered activities are most
      important for your project? For example, if you are designing a system
      to support a work process, task analysis is an important early step.
      But
      if you're designing software for consumers, field studies may yield
      insights
      that will keep you from developing the wrong product. And is
      usability testing
      always needed, or is it sometimes appropriate to skip it?

      * How do you schedule usability activities into an already full
      development
      schedule?

      * When it comes to usability, is it the case that something is
      better than nothing, or does that mindset result in bad decisions
      that are
      based on faulty information? How important is it for the methods used
      to be
      scientific and repeatable? (This topic is nicely controversial and
      would lend
      itself well to two opposing viewpoints.)

      * Is usability a marketing function or a QA function? Or both? How
      should it be managed? Where does it belong on the organizational
      chart?

      * What should be the role of prototyping in software design? Are
      prototypes best suited for quick, throwaway efforts, or should they be
      evolved into real designs? And who is the prototype for - is it for
      the
      programmers, to work out technical issues? Marketing and upper
      management, to help them formulate strategy? Interface designers,
      to figure out how it should look and operate? Usability specialists,
      so they
      can test it with users and get their feedback? (One answer is that
      these are
      all valid uses, but somewhat incompatible with each other. Teams who
      build
      a prototype without first agreeing on its purpose may find themselves
      at odds.)

      * How do you manage usability issues along with more conventional bug
      tracking (including how to prioritize them)?

      * Usability staff vs. consultants - which is right for your
      organization?

      * How have agile methods, with their extensive customer involvement
      and
      frequent feedback cycles, affected usability? Are agile methods an
      acceptable
      substitute for usability testing, or are there specialized aspects of
      it that
      agile methods do not address?

      Most Cutter IT Journal articles are approx 2,500 - 3,500 words long,
      plus
      whatever graphics are appropriate. If you have any other questions,
      please
      don't hesitate to contact bly-@.... Editorial guidelines are
      available at http://www.cutter.com/itjournal/edguide.html.

      We are inviting articles on the above subjects. We will also consider
      articles on
      other subjects that are related to software usability. The deadline
      for
      submission
      of articles is 18 August 2003. Since we only have room for a limited
      number of
      articles, however, it's important that you contact me as soon as
      possible
      with a
      description of the paper you have in mind.


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