Agile UX

The real thing with Agile is that never ends. From the moment of your first very rough conceptual prototype to the moment that you ship code you can sell you’re testing all the way through. You’re checking with your customer all the way through. That’s the end state that we’re working towards with our clients is the point where you don’t even have to wait for working code to do the iterations with your customers.

Practice Fusion

Practice Fusion, the leading provider of health records software for medical professionals, has published a nice recap of their user conference, Connect11, where Alan Cooper spoke about the role of interaction design in health care. Among the questions answered – “what do you get when you cross a computer with a doctor’s office?”

At the 13 minute mark, Stefan Klocek presents a prototype of Practice Fusion’s new iPad app.

Via Cooper Journal

[Links] 2011 – A year of UX and more

What we read from blogs we’re subscribed to it’s part of our every-day inspiration.

After a year, I’ve had opportunity to read and discover different posts with a special influence in me, anyhow. The year is ending now and this is the summary of the readings I recommend before 2012.

December

November

October

September

August

July

June

May

April

March

February

January

MSCUI Clinical Documentation Solution

MSCUI Clinical Documentation Solution

Should the Software Industry learn from other fields?

I’ll share with you an interesting reflection found in the book “Prototyping” by Todd Zaki Warfel regarding why we don’t expect prototyping as stage in the process in software development, regardeless the myth of the “return of investment”:

I think the first reason is that in software development, the emphasis is often placed on the development process and not the design process. The industry doesn’t call it “software design”; they call it “software development.“

In software development, design is often an afterthought. The emphasis is on the technology or features—not the design. In architecture and industrial design, however, the emphasis is on design. Form follows function.

Another reason is that software development is seen as a manufacturing process, but architecture and industrial design are seen as a craft.

In the following pages we’re introduced to the concept of Design studio, which is very common in other design fields:

In studio classes, you design or prototype and present to your peers. Your peers critique your work, highlighting the strengths and areas that still need some work.

Prototypes are not just a tool to communicate or to describe ideas, but also a work methodology, a phylosophy where sharing, colaborating and criticizing can speed up the process, prevent future failures and empower peers into trust and success.

It’s not a believe, fortunately I could check it by my own in my short experience, so the answer from my viewpoint is clear:”Yes, the software industry must learn a lot from other fields and design can help to lead that subversion”.

Personas’ Remote Research

To build a persona can be tricky; you can just look how actors need months to put in the shoes of a their new characters. In UI design, personas’ creation is part of the analysis stage: they will be used to define requirements, to prepare user tests, to support decisions and to establish a meeting points between designers, developers, and stakeholders.

What is a persona?

Personas are fictitious users you create based on your user research. Personas summarize your user research findings and provide a practical approach to understanding the requirements of your target audience and keeping user perspectives in mind when designing products and creating documentation for them.

By Niranjan Jahagirdar and Arun Joseph Martin for UX Matters.

I wanted to include this definition just as an introduction, because what matters to me now is how to perform personas’ research when you cannot access to any focus group, you cannot do direct interviews or observe users.

Beyond the discussion about whether this artifact is useful or not, I think that even for large organizations is a wothwhile investigation which will help to the team to be closer to the real and target user. So, this is basically my suggestions whenever you need to face a persona’s modeling:

  • Identify primary and secondary individuals to give importance to product requirements
  • Identify behavioural variables and patterns by reading blogs, analysing the professional/gender/demographics statistics associated, and understanding the complexity of their tasks beyond the technology
  • Undestand how business rules, and work environment can affect to the performance and frequency of their tasks
  • Learn how subjects like politics can affect to the user daily work (tasks, goals, attitudes and motivations)

Tips from above are not new, you can find more precise ones in the Chapter 5: Modeling Users: Personas and Goals, of the book About Face 3.

Creating persona’s is not an obscure or expensive procedure but a powerful tool wich will help designers to make decisions confidientially.