UCD vs Design Again? Really?!? [was: We don't blah blah blah]

29 Aug 2009 - 10:03pm
4 years ago
40 replies
2678 reads
ambroselittle
2008

Jared, Andrei, Charlie, et al,

I'm writing as someone working full time in the software industry for over
10 years and a hobbyist/wannabe for most of my life. I came up through the
ranks with no formal computer, science, or design education. The only
degree I hold is in history and humanities. I was a developer and architect
for most of my career.

So why the heck am I presuming to speak up amidst you juggernauts of
usability and design?

Because I'm someone who really cares about making great software and making
the software industry in general better.

Look, I'm here because it seems pretty obvious to me that the best way to
make software better is through a focus on people *and* good design. The
last 8 years of my career have been a steady enlightenment in that direction
that all started with a rather silly incident involving some terribly
amateurish visual design. (I guess my humanities background predisposes me,
too.)

Anyways, the point is that from my perspective (i.e., not having much vested
interest in UCD, Usability, HCI, Design, IA, and so on), you're setting up
an unnecessary (and damaging) dichotomy. It's not understanding people OR
designing. It's both.

Even software devs (those arch nemeses!) have figured out that involving the
actual people who will use their software in the design process helps them
to make more successful software. They also have figured out that being
able to iterate and try different things helps them come to better
solutions. These two principles underly what is broadly known as Agile.
And if you want an amorphous term, man, Agile beats UCD any day!

The way I see it, the people advocating UCD/UX and the people advocating
Agile both see the light--they see the way to make this stuff better.
They're coming at it from different directions but essentially marching to
the same drum. In the last few years they've been sidling up to each other
and saying, hey, we can learn from and work with each other and achieve our
common goals.

Now you got folks coming alongside, saying, "no, you silly people don't get
it, it's Design!" Well, of course it's design! It's never not been design.
You say, no Dee-sign, with a BIG D. We say, okay, what the heck do you
mean by that? And you (IMO) have slowly been articulating it in ever
clearer ways.

Now, I have gone from more skeptical to almost a believer in Dee-sign, but
still, I don't see it as some magic or something antithetical to Agile or
UX. I see it as complimentary. Because all along we've known we gotta do
good design--that's what the frak we've been trying to do. So you have a
different background and discipline, and maybe it's better. Yeah, I think
so.

So again, from my perspective, you have the UX folks coming in and helping
the somewhat floundering software developers do better in understanding
people and you have the Design folks coming in and helping the somewhat
floundering software developers do better in design.

Awesome! More, smart, educated, passionate, and talented people marching
together. Now what heck are we arguing about??

-a

Comments

29 Aug 2009 - 10:19pm
Charlie Kreitzberg
2008

Ambrose:

As (almost) always, I agree with you.

Charlie

============================
Charles B. Kreitzberg, Ph.D.
CEO, Cognetics Corporation
============================

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of J.
Ambrose Little
Sent: Saturday, August 29, 2009 11:04 PM
To: IXDA list
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] UCD vs Design Again? Really?!? [was: We don't
blah blah blah]

Jared, Andrei, Charlie, et al,

I'm writing as someone working full time in the software industry for over
10 years and a hobbyist/wannabe for most of my life. I came up through the
ranks with no formal computer, science, or design education. The only
degree I hold is in history and humanities. I was a developer and architect
for most of my career.

So why the heck am I presuming to speak up amidst you juggernauts of
usability and design?

Because I'm someone who really cares about making great software and making
the software industry in general better.

Look, I'm here because it seems pretty obvious to me that the best way to
make software better is through a focus on people *and* good design. The
last 8 years of my career have been a steady enlightenment in that direction
that all started with a rather silly incident involving some terribly
amateurish visual design. (I guess my humanities background predisposes me,
too.)

Anyways, the point is that from my perspective (i.e., not having much vested
interest in UCD, Usability, HCI, Design, IA, and so on), you're setting up
an unnecessary (and damaging) dichotomy. It's not understanding people OR
designing. It's both.

Even software devs (those arch nemeses!) have figured out that involving the
actual people who will use their software in the design process helps them
to make more successful software. They also have figured out that being
able to iterate and try different things helps them come to better
solutions. These two principles underly what is broadly known as Agile.
And if you want an amorphous term, man, Agile beats UCD any day!

The way I see it, the people advocating UCD/UX and the people advocating
Agile both see the light--they see the way to make this stuff better.
They're coming at it from different directions but essentially marching to
the same drum. In the last few years they've been sidling up to each other
and saying, hey, we can learn from and work with each other and achieve our
common goals.

Now you got folks coming alongside, saying, "no, you silly people don't get
it, it's Design!" Well, of course it's design! It's never not been design.
You say, no Dee-sign, with a BIG D. We say, okay, what the heck do you
mean by that? And you (IMO) have slowly been articulating it in ever
clearer ways.

Now, I have gone from more skeptical to almost a believer in Dee-sign, but
still, I don't see it as some magic or something antithetical to Agile or
UX. I see it as complimentary. Because all along we've known we gotta do
good design--that's what the frak we've been trying to do. So you have a
different background and discipline, and maybe it's better. Yeah, I think
so.

So again, from my perspective, you have the UX folks coming in and helping
the somewhat floundering software developers do better in understanding
people and you have the Design folks coming in and helping the somewhat
floundering software developers do better in design.

Awesome! More, smart, educated, passionate, and talented people marching
together. Now what heck are we arguing about??

-a
________________________________________________________________
Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
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30 Aug 2009 - 9:01am
Todd Warfel
2003

On Aug 29, 2009, at 11:03 PM, J. Ambrose Little wrote:

> These two principles underly what is broadly known as Agile. And if
> you want an amorphous term, man, Agile beats UCD any day!

This made me chuckle. Having just come from the Agile09 conference w/
some 1500-1600 attendees, I can say first hand that the agile
movements injection of the user into the process is more theory at the
moment than practice.

Yes, they have user stories, but just because you put the term "user"
into your process doesn't mean you're actually involving them. They
write user stories that about a nebulous user. These stories are
typically written by someone who isn't connected to a user at all.

This is one of the reasons they started a UX stage at the agile
conference. This is one of the reasons why I gathered a team of 4 UX
people to run a full day of UX workshops on Monday that fed into a
joint venture with some agile developers to ship a product in just 3
days.

Yeah, we did an AgileUX project. We ran a full UX design process, from
field research, to persona creation, to task analysis, to prototyping,
to design and implementation and shipped in 3 days. If you want to see
the webapp, just visit http://www.manoamano.org/ with an iPhone. It
works with Android too, but there's a minor bug.

My point? Agile is a amorphous term if you don't tie it to the current
Agile movement. For my money, I'd just use the amorphous term Design.
Hell, that's actually the amorphous term I've been using for over a
decade and will continue to use going forward.

Let me know when you guys get this argument worked out. In the mean
time, I'm going to be Designing stuff.

Cheers!

Todd Zaki Warfel
Principal Design Researcher
Messagefirst | Designing Information. Beautifully.
----------------------------------
Contact Info
Voice: (215) 825-7423
Email: todd at messagefirst.com
AIM: twarfel at mac.com
Blog: http://toddwarfel.com
Twitter: zakiwarfel
----------------------------------
In theory, theory and practice are the same.
In practice, they are not.

30 Aug 2009 - 10:12am
Mark Schraad
2006

Todd makes a great point. The inclusion of the user is really an
afterthought in any Agile discussions I've witnessed or been a part
of. I understand that Jeff Patton (amongst others) has been moving in
this direction, but I am unsure just how far and how successfully.

It's important to differentiate from a language point of view. When
they speak of the customer in the Agile world, they don't always
seem to mean the 'user'.

Lastly, when those objecting to UCD launch into a conversation, they
seem to narrow the scope of UCD to a specific process. I would put
forth that most people advocating UCD are no longer talking about a
specific or narrowly defined process. In fact they are not talking
about a process at all. What they are talking about is a general
philosophy where by the user, is the central focus of the design
work. Not the technology, and not the business goals - those come
later or are secondary. It's centered around the user because
filling a need or want in the market place... and matching the
solution to that need is core to the product's success in the
marketplace.

If you believe that the user or the consumer is not core to
everything being worked on at Apple you are absolutely out of your
mind.

Yes, there are distribution channels where the person the specs the
solution... the person that makes the purchase... are not the end
user. But this is a sales and marketing consideration, and a
convoluted way to design products and services.

The user... and by that I mean the person that will ultimately be
using the product (- sigh -) is the thing designers need to
understand first. Otherwise its all a crap shoot.

Mark

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=45169

30 Aug 2009 - 10:15am
Jay Morgan
2006

Yes, really. After all these discussions this dichotomy still lingers. It
lingers on this list, it permeates the places I've worked, it keeps
invisible barriers between me and people who sit just feet from me and my
(UX) team. It will be something we will face for years.
How? Because it _does_ take enlightenment to see through dichotomies.
Knowledge of design, usability, technique or technology does not guarantee
enlightenment. It takes humility, introspection, patience, discipline. Most
people simply don't reach that. After all, most people in our society don't
see the value in saving for tomorrow instead of spending it all today. How
does something as subtle as seeing that design and usability are on a
continuum rather than opposing poles or forces surprise us? Some people do
reach a higher level, and are willing to make a community that supports
everyone for the betterment of the entire practice.

We often walk away from client or team meetings with disgust or mocking them
because they 'don't get it'. We expect those clients or coworkers - who
might come from marketing, engineering, whatever - to attain immediate
enlightenment and understand that people have to 'interact' with their
business, they can't just be customers who are sold to anymore. Interaction
Design seems like an awfully complicated way to just put something on the
web, you know. And, Usability seems like a further investment - a Cadillac
plan - above design that is surely too time-consuming and 'sciencey' to be
right for our 'first-to-market' project.

Many days, I feel like an insurance salesman who could justify and
rationalize every universal life plan s/he offered (requires evaluating
abstract, future circumstances), but knew that most people would walk away
with term life simply because it's cheaper (a concrete, binary choice). It
takes a heavy dose of perspective to understand that the more advanced plan
is better for you, and to differentiate the circumstances in your future
that necessitate one or the other.

Primitive thinking in our own backyard?:
Reading this list at first frustrated me because so many in this field could
not see through these dichotomies. And, here I thought we were
brothers-in-arms, if you will. But, it's just like any other population with
a rough bell-curve distribution of understanding. Only a few have achieved -
or care to achieve - a point at which they no longer fight or argue, but a
point where they can simply see the right direction to go. The distractions
fall away for them. (You know, "Use the Force, Luke," and all that.)

I appreciate the list's activity for exposing me to the primitive and the
enlightened, and reminding me that they are not separate things - they are
parts of the field in which I work. I, too, am driven react with primitive
anger to situations I find myself in, and I definitely want to learn to not
act it out, but to find the right direction to go. I sometimes find myself
operating just as I'd wish by realizing the thoroughly positive impact it
has. This list lets me learn vicariously. (The longer a discussion, the
higher the likelihood of both primitive and enlightened arguments.)

Waxing philosophical: (read on at your own risk for annoyance)
Someone on the UTest list once asked which books were most valuable to our
usability careers. The top of my list was "Siddartha" by Herman Hesse,
"Before the Court"/"Auf dem Gesetz" by Franz Kafka, and "A Practical Guide
to Usability Testing" by Dumas & Redish. Siddartha for the lesson on rarity
and delicacy of enlightenment. Before the Court for the lesson on the facade
that is bureaucracy. Practical Guide for the lesson on continually improving
product and process.

Siddartha teaches you that life is always challenging, even after attaining
englightenment you live in the cycle of Samsara. Or, in our terms, no matter
how good your work is, no matter how smart you are, you will find yourself
in utterly disgusting situations of being frustrated by dealing with "other
people" and these mundane problems of life. And, that those moments, too,
pass. To remember your skills and talents, and they will keep you going and
give you something to focus on beyond the frustration.
Kafka's 1.5-page essay on bureaucracy shows you that the corporation and
it's representatives might look like fearsome opponents, but that it's
mostly just a bluff and you've gotta take your shot. A great way to maintain
confidence when working inside or for the F100.
Dumas & Redish had an excellent statement that usability is not just about
improving the quality of the product, but it is also about improving the
process by which those products are made. There is the art - the daily,
relentless practice to make things better no matter the opposition or
disinterest.

So, you don't just do one good project and ascend to the throne. You will
have to work harder at each level if you want to progress. If don't want to
work harder, you can stay at the level you're at, but expect to be there
until you take initiative. (Groundhog Day?)

Thanks for calling this to attention. I love the meta-conversations.
- Jay

On Sat, Aug 29, 2009 at 10:03 PM, J. Ambrose Little <ambrose at aspalliance.com
> wrote:

> Jared, Andrei, Charlie, et al,
>
> I'm writing as someone working full time in the software industry for over
> 10 years and a hobbyist/wannabe for most of my life. I came up through the
> ranks with no formal computer, science, or design education. The only
> degree I hold is in history and humanities. I was a developer and
> architect
> for most of my career.
>
> So why the heck am I presuming to speak up amidst you juggernauts of
> usability and design?
>
> Because I'm someone who really cares about making great software and making
> the software industry in general better.
>
> Look, I'm here because it seems pretty obvious to me that the best way to
> make software better is through a focus on people *and* good design. The
> last 8 years of my career have been a steady enlightenment in that
> direction
> that all started with a rather silly incident involving some terribly
> amateurish visual design. (I guess my humanities background predisposes
> me,
> too.)
>
> Anyways, the point is that from my perspective (i.e., not having much
> vested
> interest in UCD, Usability, HCI, Design, IA, and so on), you're setting up
> an unnecessary (and damaging) dichotomy. It's not understanding people OR
> designing. It's both.
>
> Even software devs (those arch nemeses!) have figured out that involving
> the
> actual people who will use their software in the design process helps them
> to make more successful software. They also have figured out that being
> able to iterate and try different things helps them come to better
> solutions. These two principles underly what is broadly known as Agile.
> And if you want an amorphous term, man, Agile beats UCD any day!
>
> The way I see it, the people advocating UCD/UX and the people advocating
> Agile both see the light--they see the way to make this stuff better.
> They're coming at it from different directions but essentially marching to
> the same drum. In the last few years they've been sidling up to each other
> and saying, hey, we can learn from and work with each other and achieve our
> common goals.
>
> Now you got folks coming alongside, saying, "no, you silly people don't get
> it, it's Design!" Well, of course it's design! It's never not been
> design.
> You say, no Dee-sign, with a BIG D. We say, okay, what the heck do you
> mean by that? And you (IMO) have slowly been articulating it in ever
> clearer ways.
>
> Now, I have gone from more skeptical to almost a believer in Dee-sign, but
> still, I don't see it as some magic or something antithetical to Agile or
> UX. I see it as complimentary. Because all along we've known we gotta do
> good design--that's what the frak we've been trying to do. So you have a
> different background and discipline, and maybe it's better. Yeah, I think
> so.
>
> So again, from my perspective, you have the UX folks coming in and helping
> the somewhat floundering software developers do better in understanding
> people and you have the Design folks coming in and helping the somewhat
> floundering software developers do better in design.
>
> Awesome! More, smart, educated, passionate, and talented people marching
> together. Now what heck are we arguing about??
>
> -a
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

--
------------------------------------------------------------
Jay A. Morgan
Director, UX at Gage

twitter.com/jayamorgan
linkedin.com/in/jayamorgan
------------------------------------------------------------

30 Aug 2009 - 10:34am
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

On Aug 30, 2009, at 8:12 AM, mark schraad wrote:

> If you believe that the user or the consumer is not core to
> everything being worked on at Apple you are absolutely out of your
> mind.

So when Apple forced 3.5" hard floppies on the world back in the
1980s, they were user focused? When Apple refuses to change the design
of their mice to include more than one button, they are consumer
focused? When they build their iPhones or iPods without an ability to
replace the battery, thereby forcing customers to buy new models year
over year, they are customer focused?

I say this to illustrate a point. I agree that Apple makes fantastic
products, and I've been an Apple customer since I had my first Apple
IIe. But I think Apple is precisely an example of not being "user
centered" or even "user focused." They are operating on a higher
level. One that does not put the user at the center of everything,
coloring their decisions on what to do or what not to do.

--
Andrei Herasimchuk

Chief Design Officer, Involution Studios
innovating the digital world

e. andrei at involutionstudios.com
c. +1 408 306 6422

30 Aug 2009 - 11:55am
ambroselittle
2008

*sigh*.. well, it was worth a shot. Argue on, my friends.
-a

30 Aug 2009 - 12:29pm
Joshua Muskovitz
2008

Hold steady, Ambrose. I've got your back. We'll turn back the
heathens. ;-)

The real killer in these discussions is the wonderfully evil term
"user". Who are these mysterious people? They are the benefactors
of the hard work. But are they users in the classic sense? People
with their one-button mice and irreplaceable batteries? Or are they
the helpdesk people, who have to deal with the calls about how to
replace the batteries, or answering questions about the difference
between left and right clicking? Or are they the finance people, who
will see a cost reduction from labor costs because of streamlined use
cases?

The term User means a lot of different things. And UCD (or Design, or
Agile, or whatever) needs to address ALL of them to be done properly.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=45169

30 Aug 2009 - 12:57pm
Dave Malouf
2005

Ambrose, I don't even see an argument to be had.
Everyone is saying, "we need balance" in one way or another. But
when they say it they are just saying that this direction is too
much, or that direction is too much. Everyone from their diff POVs
see some other direction as that which needs to be balanced towards
or away from. But everyone is saying the same thing.

This all started b/c Ali is in a situation where the classic user (he
who uses the product) is all but disregarded. So he is just asking for
balance towards consideration. B/c he's in that extreme environment,
"balance" means strong evangelism and so the language and tone it
exudes is stronger and more targeted.

Andrei is sick of UCD folks who preach about the glories of UCD on
high without realizing that there more pieces to the puzzle and many
ways to consider "the user" beyond classical UCD methods.

I don't see any arguments here, just different POVs.

-- dave

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=45169

30 Aug 2009 - 1:40pm
James Page
2008

Agile is in fact very user focused. It is focused on the programmer, the
developer, in other words the user of the Agile process.

The challenge with UCD is that came around in the days of Waterfall
development. Trying to get some of the process to fit into an agile
development is hard, because the time taken for most of the UCD techniques
takes more time than the average iteration.

We at FeraLabs have tried to adopt some of the UCD techniques to work well
with an Agile development environment. For example we adopted concurrent and
digital ethnography instead of doing all the research upfront. We will be
talking about concurrent ethnography at the EuroIA
conference<http://www.euroia.org/>next month. Another example is how
we used real people to influence the
design, which I talk about
here<http://blog.feralabs.com/2009/08/design-without-personas/>.

We need new ideas, or find old ones that have been forgotten (concurrent
ethnography is an old technique) to make UCD more accessible to others in
the development process.

All the best

James
blog.feralabs.com

2009/8/30 David Malouf <dave at ixda.org>

> Ambrose, I don't even see an argument to be had.
> Everyone is saying, "we need balance" in one way or another. But
> when they say it they are just saying that this direction is too
> much, or that direction is too much. Everyone from their diff POVs
> see some other direction as that which needs to be balanced towards
> or away from. But everyone is saying the same thing.
>
> This all started b/c Ali is in a situation where the classic user (he
> who uses the product) is all but disregarded. So he is just asking for
> balance towards consideration. B/c he's in that extreme environment,
> "balance" means strong evangelism and so the language and tone it
> exudes is stronger and more targeted.
>
> Andrei is sick of UCD folks who preach about the glories of UCD on
> high without realizing that there more pieces to the puzzle and many
> ways to consider "the user" beyond classical UCD methods.
>
> I don't see any arguments here, just different POVs.
>
> -- dave
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=45169
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

30 Aug 2009 - 1:41pm
Charlie Kreitzberg
2008

< Andrei is sick of UCD folks who preach about the glories of UCD on high
without realizing that there more pieces to the puzzle and many ways to
consider "the user" beyond classical UCD methods.>

Speaking for the UCD folks, we are *so* sorry.

Charlie

============================
Charles B. Kreitzberg, Ph.D.
CEO, Cognetics Corporation
============================

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of David
Malouf
Sent: Sunday, August 30, 2009 10:57 AM
To: discuss at ixda.org
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] UCD vs Design Again? Really?!? [was: We don't
blah blah blah]

Ambrose, I don't even see an argument to be had.
Everyone is saying, "we need balance" in one way or another. But
when they say it they are just saying that this direction is too
much, or that direction is too much. Everyone from their diff POVs
see some other direction as that which needs to be balanced towards
or away from. But everyone is saying the same thing.

This all started b/c Ali is in a situation where the classic user (he
who uses the product) is all but disregarded. So he is just asking for
balance towards consideration. B/c he's in that extreme environment,
"balance" means strong evangelism and so the language and tone it
exudes is stronger and more targeted.

Andrei is sick of UCD folks who preach about the glories of UCD on
high without realizing that there more pieces to the puzzle and many
ways to consider "the user" beyond classical UCD methods.

I don't see any arguments here, just different POVs.

-- dave

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=45169

________________________________________________________________
Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help

30 Aug 2009 - 6:31pm
Todd Warfel
2003

On Aug 30, 2009, at 11:34 AM, Andrei Herasimchuk wrote:

> When they build their iPhones or iPods without an ability to replace
> the battery, thereby forcing customers to buy new models year over
> year, they are customer focused?

Or they were just designing for behavior, knowing that it's common for
iPhone/iPod customers to upgrade every 16-24 months, relying on that,
and designing for it.

In Asia, it's common for people to upgrade their phones every 9-12
months. So, if you're a smart consumer electronics company there,
you're going to design for that.

I don't think it's so much UCD, but rather keeping the user's behavior
at the center of their design, knowing what they can get away with,
and designing for that behavior.

Cheers!

Todd Zaki Warfel
Principal Design Researcher
Messagefirst | Designing Information. Beautifully.
----------------------------------
Contact Info
Voice: (215) 825-7423
Email: todd at messagefirst.com
AIM: twarfel at mac.com
Blog: http://toddwarfel.com
Twitter: zakiwarfel
----------------------------------
In theory, theory and practice are the same.
In practice, they are not.

30 Aug 2009 - 8:42pm
Santiago Bustelo
2010

Andrei, excellent point about 3.5" floppies. I recall Jef Raskin
words about that design decision: 5 1/4" floppy drives, cheaper and
more common, allowed the user to eject the disk while data was being
read or written.

I also remember first hand how System 7 took its (my) time to verify
data while copying. Windows, on the other hand, didn't care if drive
A: was actually behaving as NULL:

Back then, I knew of no users who understood or valued those
decisions. The second one even fueled the idea that Macs were slow
and inefficient.

On this examples, Apple's approach towards the user was not a
democratic "user centered" or "user focused" one, but rather a
"paternalistic" approach: do good to the user, without him/she
asking or even recognizing it.

--

Santiago Bustelo, Icograma
Buenos Aires, Argentina

// IxDA Buenos Aires: http://www.ixda.com.ar

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=45169

30 Aug 2009 - 5:11am
asbjorn
2009

was there ever an argument?

i believe in collaboration...

thus, i agree!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=45169

30 Aug 2009 - 1:13pm
W. Jeffrey Rankin
2009

I agree that UX in general has been ineffective in articulating what
design is. The original post makes assumptions and uses terminology
in such a way that alone indicate this.

I don't believe the dichotomy between understanding people or
designing exists. Design is the process - good design is hopefully
the output - and understanding users is a function of good user
research, usability testing, or whatever part of the design process
is currently being worked.

I'm having trouble with the distinction between "BIG D" design and
UX/UCD. Possibly this is partly a function of a separate problem in
the (small ux) ux community - the proliferation of job titles that
essentially boil down to similar things. Certainly I agree that
design in not antithetical to agile. It fits into an agile process,
although the designer is gonna need to be well in front of an agile
sprint - figuring out the design and making sure they can articulate
the design to engineers.

I think there's a lot of common ground here - it's just a matter of
level-setting ux and engineers on process and terminology.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=45169

31 Aug 2009 - 7:38am
Adrian Howard
2005

On 31 Aug 2009, at 00:31, Todd Zaki Warfel wrote:

> On Aug 30, 2009, at 11:34 AM, Andrei Herasimchuk wrote:
>
>> When they build their iPhones or iPods without an ability to
>> replace the battery, thereby forcing customers to buy new models
>> year over year, they are customer focused?
>
> Or they were just designing for behavior, knowing that it's common
> for iPhone/iPod customers to upgrade every 16-24 months, relying on
> that, and designing for it.
>
> In Asia, it's common for people to upgrade their phones every 9-12
> months. So, if you're a smart consumer electronics company there,
> you're going to design for that.
>
> I don't think it's so much UCD, but rather keeping the user's
> behavior at the center of their design, knowing what they can get
> away with, and designing for that behavior.

Not to mention that it's much easier to build products that are
robust, and don't flex and feel cheap when you don't have to worry
about making a large heavy slab of it be detachable (and only detach
when the person using it want's that to happen).

Then there's the other useful bits of functionality that you can
squeeze in when you don't have to mount everything around a heavy lump
of battery that needs to be easily replaceable.

And, a Todd says, if the majority of your customer base isn't
replacing batteries - is it customer focussed to add a feature that
they don't want or need? I've got a lot of electric doodads around the
house. The vast majority have never had a spare or replacement battery
installed - and likely never will.

Adrian
--
http://quietstars.com - twitter.com/adrianh - delicious.com/adrianh

31 Aug 2009 - 9:58am
ambroselittle
2008

Hi Dave,

Okay, I'll bite. :)

On Sun, Aug 30, 2009 at 6:57 AM, David Malouf <dave at ixda.org> wrote:

> Ambrose, I don't even see an argument to be had.
> Everyone is saying, "we need balance" in one way or another.

Everyone has very strange ways of saying this. ;)

> But
> when they say it they are just saying that this direction is too
> much, or that direction is too much. Everyone from their diff POVs
> see some other direction as that which needs to be balanced towards
> or away from. But everyone is saying the same thing.
>

You had me up to the last sentence. I agree that folks implicitly recognize
the need for balance and harmony; however, the way it is being advocated as
more of a "my way or the highway" or as "your/'the old' way sucks" is not
conciliatory nor productive nor synthetic nor balanced, as it needs to be.

I wish I could agree that everyone here just wants balance, but I just don't
see that balance in what many folks here have been saying.

I want us to all get marching to the same drum, and the way to do that is
not by telling the other that his or her own background, successes,
learning, and so on are wrong and invalid. Even in reply to my attempt to
bring us together, folks fell back into this kind of unhelpful criticism.

It's much better--and has much more chance of success--to say, "yeah, look,
you've been sort of heading in the right direction, but here's what might be
a better way" than to derisively mock what the folks you need to work with
have been doing, as so often occurs with UX/designer types in relation to
devs/biz types. The reality is that if you do that, you're only hurting
yourself and your cause.

> Andrei is sick of UCD folks who preach about the glories of UCD on
> high without realizing that there more pieces to the puzzle and many
> ways to consider "the user" beyond classical UCD methods.
>

I would advocate a more synthetic and conciliatory approach.

Personally, I tend to sympathize with Charlie's concerns that if you start
knocking UCD too much, it will remove what little clarity and credibility
there is in the minds of those not steeped in UX/IxD. The decision makers
will see our own *apparent* confusion and say "look, you guys need to get
your s**t together before I bet money on you."

As an anecdote, just this last week I was involved in what felt like an epic
struggle for IxD. Folks on the "other" side kept saying UCD--we want UCD.
It's something they feel that has been tried, something concrete that they
can grasp and latch on to and understand (as an outsider). It does have
known, concrete approaches, techniques, and deliverables.

If we agree that these can be improved upon, and I doubt anyone would say no
to that, then let's work together to improve them. No need to try to
totally undermine their credibility in the process.

Yes, there will be enlightened decision makers for whom UCD is not a key
thing, but they are not common in the software world, at least certainly not
the IT world. As I see it, a good practical approach is to let the UCD work
its magic in the business (& engineer) minds and then slowly ease them into
a more refined understandings. It's not the only way, but it has been
making great strides over the last several years.

-a

31 Aug 2009 - 12:09pm
Dave Malouf
2005

they have strange ways of saying it b/c they have different
constituencies who both inform them and who they speak with
regularly. Their audiences are vastly different and so their focus
needs to be different.

Talk to designers about UCD and they look at you like you're a
fucking idiot who knows nothing about the nearly 2000 years of design
(architecture) that has existed around thinking about and designing
for humans.

Talk to engineers about "pure design" and they look at you as being
naive and frivolous and ego driven.

So, the language is very different because the groups are so
different.

Here at IxDA we are one of the only organizations that are bridging
this gap within the community and these constant arguments is what is
happening here. We purposefully bridge the analytical side of HCI, IA
and Usability with the visceral and aesthetic side of design &
architecture. It's like mixing 2 chemicals in the lab that can
really only do 1 thing: explode!

The explosions create a lot of energy and in this energy we can
harness amazing conversations, insights, and even innovations.

That was my haute way of saying, this is all good!

-- dave

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
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31 Aug 2009 - 1:25pm
Thomas Bonney
2009

UCD, Agile or whatever the next process that comes into fashion
(FrAgile?), my concern is that these processes may stagnate
innovation. In all I've read about UCD, largely neglected is how a
UCD process helps foster innovation or creativity.

UCD processes are structural, cognitive frameworks for advancing a
product from abstract specifications to a concrete form; they provide
constraints that streamline and focus decision making. But the
procedures are not necessarily the only vehicle for creation of a
product, nor do they guarantee the right level of ideation/creativity
that can lead to innovation and product success. And there's no proof
that a product won't succeed if UCD isn't followed.

I find I'm more interested in the principals from which the UCD
process was derived rather than strict adherence to UCD as the only
way to apply those principals. I simply can't picture UCD as _the_
means for product innovation - after all, isn't innovation a process
in and of itself?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
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1 Sep 2009 - 6:43am
Ali Naqvi
2008

Apple's design process:
http://www.businessweek.com/the_thread/techbeat/archives/2008/03/apples_design_p.html

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=45169

1 Sep 2009 - 7:17am
Ali Naqvi
2008

UCD has many other names and consist of these (and probably many
others): contextual inquiry, customer-focused design, empathic
design, participatory design, usability, usability engineering,
usability testing, user experience design, user-focused design,
user-friendly design.
With time more and newer methods can be added to UCD. UCD is not ONE
specific development process. UCD is an overall term that can have
many different development processes with the focus on the USER. I
think that APPLE does focus on the user and DO use some of the UCD
processes. So I dont entirely agree with Andrei.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=45169

1 Sep 2009 - 7:36am
Jared M. Spool
2003

On Sep 1, 2009, at 5:17 AM, Ali Naqvi wrote:

> UCD is not ONE
> specific development process. UCD is an overall term that can have
> many different development processes with the focus on the USER.

Which makes it a practically useless term, since no two practitioners
of UCD do the same thing and nobody can differentiate quality UCD from
poorly executed UCD.

Jared

1 Sep 2009 - 8:34am
Ali Naqvi
2008

Jared:
But won't you agree that UCD follow a "certain" guideline? Poorly
executed UCD could for instancebe that not enough qualitative
research was conducted? There could be other examples...

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=45169

1 Sep 2009 - 9:05am
ambroselittle
2008

On Tue, Sep 1, 2009 at 8:36 AM, Jared Spool <jspool at uie.com> wrote:

> Which makes it a practically useless term, since no two practitioners of
> UCD do the same thing and nobody can differentiate quality UCD from poorly
> executed UCD.
>
----

On the other hand, it may be its flexibility that enables it to succeed
where a more strictured methodology (or even just terminology) fails. It
feels somewhat extreme to go from a recognition that the elements of UCD are
flexible and adaptable to saying it is useless. I've seen the same thing
with Agile--folks are going to make it mean what they want, but that doesn't
mean it doesn't have core recognizable elements (that are valuable). I
think Ali highlighted some of these.

Anyways, personally I'm not attached to "UCD" as a term, but it does seem to
resonate with a whole lotta people. Jared, it sounds like you think that's
a bad thing, but it seems that when you're trying to get people together
from very different backgrounds, finding common ground and terminology, even
if imprecisely defined, is great place to go from towards finding the way
forward.

I think sometimes we get overly analytical when it comes to this stuff.

-a

1 Sep 2009 - 9:12am
Ali Naqvi
2008

Jared:
Okay I have been reading all your comments carefully. Also the ones
you made in my post.

You are against this term since you claim that "no two practitioners
of UCD do the same thing....".

As humans we are different from each other and have a different
creative mind. Following UCD doesnt mean that you HAVE to do the same
thing as another practitioner of UCD. I bet, if you hand out a project
to two different UCD practitioners, these will develop different
solutions to a problem YET both will be acceptable and based on User
Research. Does that mean that UCD is a useless term? I don't think
so.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
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1 Sep 2009 - 9:54am
Jarod Tang
2007

I guess you will to address UCD as philosophy.

As previous gays said, there're two level for UCD in the design culture, one
from design philosophy perspective, other from process perspective. Design
cant avoid the former one, because all artifact is "by the people, for the
people and of the people", but that dosent means one should follow some
named UCD process ( most of the case, it more like a street to a dead end,
but it's not a reason to say design is not centered on people and people's
needs ).
On of Jared's argumentation is good design, or the quality of design, which
is the a very good topic, but that's a different perspective for design (
UCD is for the people from philosophy perspective ), good design is for the
quality perspective, they have no conflicts from the root, treat them as
conflict or same level problem is a problem.

Regards,
-- Jarod

On Tue, Sep 1, 2009 at 3:12 PM, Ali Naqvi <Ali at amroha.dk> wrote:

> Jared:
> Okay I have been reading all your comments carefully. Also the ones
> you made in my post.
>
> You are against this term since you claim that "no two practitioners
> of UCD do the same thing....".
>
> As humans we are different from each other and have a different
> creative mind. Following UCD doesnt mean that you HAVE to do the same
> thing as another practitioner of UCD. I bet, if you hand out a project
> to two different UCD practitioners, these will develop different
> solutions to a problem YET both will be acceptable and based on User
> Research. Does that mean that UCD is a useless term? I don't think
> so.
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=45169
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
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--
@jarodtang
http://designforuse.blogspot.com/

1 Sep 2009 - 12:49pm
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

On Sep 1, 2009, at 5:17 AM, Ali Naqvi wrote:

> With time more and newer methods can be added to UCD. UCD is not ONE
> specific development process. UCD is an overall term that can have
> many different development processes with the focus on the USER. I
> think that APPLE does focus on the user and DO use some of the UCD
> processes. So I dont entirely agree with Andrei.

Apple focuses on the customer, the technology, the business and the
product itself. Simple cursory knowledge of their history, their
products, their design choices, and their culture will tell you this
is the case.

What I have been saying for years and people like you seem to keep
missing is that UCD as both a philosophy and methodology is at best
only a portion the overall product design process, and is incomplete
even in the best circumstances where I've seen people practice it's
guiding principles. It's incomplete precisely because as you stated so
clearly above, the entire intent of UCD seems to focus on the user as
the center of the universe, at the expense of equally important
aspects of the product, like technology requirements and business
needs. As such, I've never seen UCD succeed to my standard because
it's simply not enough on its own to create what I would consider well-
designed products.

Here's a visceral way for all those people who are so tied to UCD to
get what it is that I'm saying: Go build your own prototypes.

And when I say build your own prototypes, I mean create all the pixel-
perfect assets yourself with whatever tool you want to use, code up
the HTML or MXML or whatever presentation language you want to use,
hand code all your own CSS, and script all the interactions with
JavaScript or ActionScript on your own. Feel free to fake data with
hard coded JSON while you're at it.

I guarantee the single act of forcing yourself to learn how to code
and build your own prototypes will show you without a doubt how
focusing on the user as the center of everything is incomplete at best.

--
Andrei Herasimchuk

Chief Design Officer, Involution Studios
innovating the digital world

e. andrei at involutionstudios.com
c. +1 408 306 6422

1 Sep 2009 - 7:42pm
Jarod Tang
2007

On Wed, Sep 2, 2009 at 1:49 AM, Andrei Herasimchuk <
aherasimchuk at involutionstudios.com> wrote:

> On Sep 1, 2009, at 5:17 AM, Ali Naqvi wrote:
>
> With time more and newer methods can be added to UCD. UCD is not ONE
>> specific development process. UCD is an overall term that can have
>> many different development processes with the focus on the USER. I
>> think that APPLE does focus on the user and DO use some of the UCD
>> processes. So I dont entirely agree with Andrei.
>>
>
> Apple focuses on the customer, the technology, the business and the product
> itself. Simple cursory knowledge of their history, their products, their
> design choices, and their culture will tell you this is the case.
>
> For e.g.?

-- Jarod
--
@jarodtang
http://designforuse.blogspot.com/

1 Sep 2009 - 10:32pm
Jared M. Spool
2003

On Sep 1, 2009, at 6:34 AM, Ali Naqvi wrote:

> But won't you agree that UCD follow a "certain" guideline?

No, I wouldn't. Dozens of interviews I've conducted with self-
proclaimed UCD professionals shows there is very little overlap in
what UCD means or what a UCD professional does.

There's no "guidelines" beyond some vague notion of "involving users"
which, by the way, people (like Andrei) who claim to not be UCD
followers do too.

So, if I were to give you a pile of 10 folks who claim to follow UCD
combined with a pile of 10 folks who claim to design without following
UCD -- without telling you which was which -- I'm betting you couldn't
pick out who was in each group by looking at either their
philosophies, their activities, or their end results.

At which point, I ask, what makes UCD special? Why is it important?

Jared

1 Sep 2009 - 10:46pm
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

On Sep 1, 2009, at 8:32 PM, Jared Spool wrote:
> There's no "guidelines" beyond some vague notion of "involving
> users" which, by the way, people (like Andrei) who claim to not be
> UCD followers do too.

For the record, I acknowledge that I design for people. What I don't
do is people-centered design.

--
Andrei Herasimchuk

Chief Design Officer, Involution Studios
innovating the digital world

e. andrei at involutionstudios.com
c. +1 408 306 6422

1 Sep 2009 - 10:49pm
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

On Sep 1, 2009, at 5:42 PM, Jarod Tang wrote:

> On Wed, Sep 2, 2009 at 1:49 AM, Andrei Herasimchuk <aherasimchuk at involutionstudios.com
> > wrote:
>> Apple focuses on the customer, the technology, the business and the
>> product itself. Simple cursory knowledge of their history, their
>> products, their design choices, and their culture will tell you
>> this is the case.
>
> For e.g.?

Examples of Apple choices that involved more than just a focus on the
user:

* Implementing 3.5" hard disk floppies when they were not standard in
the market, but contained more data storage. This was a product design
and technology decision, and certainly did not help customers out of
the gate since it could hard to find these disks when the first Macs
shipped.

* Subsequently, Apple also dropped external hard drives from their
laptops first, aded in DVD enabled drives, and generally have always
pushed the next generation connections on all of their computers,
before they ever become standard in the general computing marketplace.

* Sticking to a single button mouse and clicking convention when the
rest of the market uses 2 or more. Especially games and entertainment
markets. The word on the street is that this decision has been
reinforced by Jobs only, but no one knows why Apple refuses to adopt
multi-button mice, especially considering it's pretty much required by
gamers, creative professionals, 3D animators and architects, all
markets that Apple should be trying to appease, one would think.

* OpenDoc, which never made it, but was not something that could exist
outside of the engineering that was required to make it happen. In the
end, it failed for a myriad of reasons, not the least of which was
that while a lofty design goal, it wound up being too difficult to
make happen technically and often made the resulting interfaces more
complicated, not less.

* The candy colored iMacs. Once again making Macs feel like toys. They
were more of a business and branding decision to grab attention when
Apple needed it most. If they were truly a great design decision aimed
at what their customers really want, and not a fad (which I think they
were), Apple would still be making them today.

* The entire graphical user interface system in the first place, which
was viewed by business users back in the '80s to be too much like a
toy. Apple didn't care. It claimed the GUI made more sense and was
easier to use. That fight last at least until the late 90s. These days
however, we have Google playing the role of being anti-aesthetic and
more "machine" designed, so I guess Apple may not have truly changed
the entire tech industry just yet.

* The Mac Cube. Expensive, but cool. People who own them claim them as
status symbols. And while they are indeed cool, they certainly weren't
aimed at even a large portion of their die-hard fan base.

* The iPod spin wheel. Not sure how the spin wheel is user focused.
It's a technological solution to an interesting design problem of how
to make easier access to long lists of items on a 3" screen. In fact,
when you are presented new users an iPod and they had not seen one
before, most people had know idea how to make the spin wheel work
until shown. Also in fact, the spin wheel breaks down once you have
very long lists to navigate. Still easy to use, but not the best
design solution over all compared to other devices.

* The iPhone touch screen and interface. While it has it's
cheerleaders, my daughter is like a lot of folks: they want the
tactical keyboard for texting. Even after all this time, Apple hasn't
come out with a solution for those people, who probably will not move
over to the full touch interface. Quite frankly, the touch screen and
the resulting interface are classic Apple: cool, new technology that
allows for a new form factor and opens up a new interaction and
business model that wasn't possible before. In this case, unique Apps
that can only exist with a touch screen interface.

* The original Finder. As an operating system, it was one of the first
that polled for user events rather than sit back passively. This
allowed for the creation and concepts behind the feedback loop with
interfaces. It was also, in fact, probably the genesis for pretty much
everything having to do with software and interaction since. It was
not created to solve a customer problem and if you asked, customers
would still to this day have no idea what it is. It was a
technological advance that allowed Apple to create new types of
applications that could do more than what was being offered in DOS at
the time.

I could go on and on. Apple has a long history of making products that
are more often than not, a combination of technical, business, design
and customer choices. Very rarely have I seen Apple make a choice
based solely on "user centered" anything, and more often than not, the
products people love most that come out of Apple are the ones that hit
that magical combination of new technological advances, cool aesthetic
and design, a few killer features, and just within reach on price
point that they can justify getting ahead of others who wait for the
me-toos in the market.

--
Andrei Herasimchuk

Chief Design Officer, Involution Studios
innovating the digital world

e. andrei at involutionstudios.com
c. +1 408 306 6422

1 Sep 2009 - 10:56pm
Jared M. Spool
2003

On Sep 1, 2009, at 10:46 PM, Andrei Herasimchuk wrote:

> On Sep 1, 2009, at 8:32 PM, Jared Spool wrote:
>> There's no "guidelines" beyond some vague notion of "involving
>> users" which, by the way, people (like Andrei) who claim to not be
>> UCD followers do too.
>
> For the record, I acknowledge that I design for people. What I don't
> do is people-centered design.

I misspoke. I apologize.

:)

Jared

1 Sep 2009 - 11:08pm
Adrian Howard
2005

On 2 Sep 2009, at 04:49, Andrei Herasimchuk wrote:

> * Implementing 3.5" hard disk floppies when they were not standard
> in the market, but contained more data storage. This was a product
> design and technology decision, and certainly did not help customers
> out of the gate since it could hard to find these disks when the
> first Macs shipped.

Just to be sad and techie for a bit...

More storage wasn't the only (or maybe not even the main) advantage of
the 3.5" floppy (and the similar 3" floppy that I don't think ever
made it into machines outside of the UK in the 80's.)

Indeed there were 5.25" floppy formats that met or exceeded the
storage size of the 3.5" floppy at the time Apple stuck it in their
machines.

For me the big advantage was
1) impossible to eject mid-read/write causing data loss and possible
damage to drive & disk (folk were _always_ doing this in my experience)
2) Due to the covered nature of the disk - much harder to get crud in
disk and onto drive - again avoiding damage to disk & drive

Cheers,

Adrian (who was very happy to see the back of 8" and 5.25" floppies
back in the day :)

--
http://quietstars.com - twitter.com/adrianh - delicious.com/adrianh

1 Sep 2009 - 11:27pm
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

On Sep 1, 2009, at 9:08 PM, Adrian Howard wrote:

> For me the big advantage was
> 1) impossible to eject mid-read/write causing data loss and possible
> damage to drive & disk (folk were _always_ doing this in my
> experience)
> 2) Due to the covered nature of the disk - much harder to get crud
> in disk and onto drive - again avoiding damage to disk & drive

Agreed on both counts. And to further reminisce a bit.... let's not
forget all the stories of people who bought Macs that had the power
switch on the front just under the floppy drive, and they would press
the button thinking it would eject the disk, but it turned off the
machine.

--
Andrei Herasimchuk

Chief Design Officer, Involution Studios
innovating the digital world

e. andrei at involutionstudios.com
c. +1 408 306 6422

1 Sep 2009 - 11:31pm
Adrian Howard
2005

On 2 Sep 2009, at 05:27, Andrei Herasimchuk wrote:

> Agreed on both counts. And to further reminisce a bit.... let's not
> forget all the stories of people who bought Macs that had the power
> switch on the front just under the floppy drive, and they would
> press the button thinking it would eject the disk, but it turned off
> the machine.

Oh yes! Saw that one a lot :-)

Adrian

--
http://quietstars.com - twitter.com/adrianh - delicious.com/adrianh

1 Sep 2009 - 11:45pm
Robert Skrobe
2008

Hi Ambrose,

Thanks for posting.

My experience is that all three roles you mention here (software developers,
designers and UX professionals) don't bother pointing out the deficiencies
of the other's approach... they just focus on their roles in whatever
project process is required to do the work. The culture dictates how
closely they work together, and their interaction preferences determine how
they communicate.

Yours,
Robert

On Sat, Aug 29, 2009 at 10:03 PM, J. Ambrose Little <ambrose at aspalliance.com
> wrote:

> Jared, Andrei, Charlie, et al,
>
> I'm writing as someone working full time in the software industry for over
> 10 years and a hobbyist/wannabe for most of my life. I came up through the
> ranks with no formal computer, science, or design education. The only
> degree I hold is in history and humanities. I was a developer and
> architect
> for most of my career.
>
> So why the heck am I presuming to speak up amidst you juggernauts of
> usability and design?
>
> Because I'm someone who really cares about making great software and making
> the software industry in general better.
>
> Look, I'm here because it seems pretty obvious to me that the best way to
> make software better is through a focus on people *and* good design. The
> last 8 years of my career have been a steady enlightenment in that
> direction
> that all started with a rather silly incident involving some terribly
> amateurish visual design. (I guess my humanities background predisposes
> me,
> too.)
>
> Anyways, the point is that from my perspective (i.e., not having much
> vested
> interest in UCD, Usability, HCI, Design, IA, and so on), you're setting up
> an unnecessary (and damaging) dichotomy. It's not understanding people OR
> designing. It's both.
>
> Even software devs (those arch nemeses!) have figured out that involving
> the
> actual people who will use their software in the design process helps them
> to make more successful software. They also have figured out that being
> able to iterate and try different things helps them come to better
> solutions. These two principles underly what is broadly known as Agile.
> And if you want an amorphous term, man, Agile beats UCD any day!
>
> The way I see it, the people advocating UCD/UX and the people advocating
> Agile both see the light--they see the way to make this stuff better.
> They're coming at it from different directions but essentially marching to
> the same drum. In the last few years they've been sidling up to each other
> and saying, hey, we can learn from and work with each other and achieve our
> common goals.
>
> Now you got folks coming alongside, saying, "no, you silly people don't get
> it, it's Design!" Well, of course it's design! It's never not been
> design.
> You say, no Dee-sign, with a BIG D. We say, okay, what the heck do you
> mean by that? And you (IMO) have slowly been articulating it in ever
> clearer ways.
>
> Now, I have gone from more skeptical to almost a believer in Dee-sign, but
> still, I don't see it as some magic or something antithetical to Agile or
> UX. I see it as complimentary. Because all along we've known we gotta do
> good design--that's what the frak we've been trying to do. So you have a
> different background and discipline, and maybe it's better. Yeah, I think
> so.
>
> So again, from my perspective, you have the UX folks coming in and helping
> the somewhat floundering software developers do better in understanding
> people and you have the Design folks coming in and helping the somewhat
> floundering software developers do better in design.
>
> Awesome! More, smart, educated, passionate, and talented people marching
> together. Now what heck are we arguing about??
>
> -a
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2 Sep 2009 - 6:21am
Todd Warfel
2003

On Sep 1, 2009, at 11:32 PM, Jared Spool wrote:

> No, I wouldn't. Dozens of interviews I've conducted with self-
> proclaimed UCD professionals shows there is very little overlap in
> what UCD means or what a UCD professional does.

Precisely why we use a data-driven goal oriented design approach and
not user-centered design approach. With a data-driven goal oriented
design approach we can make room for things like user goals, business
goals, etc.

Cheers!

Todd Zaki Warfel
Principal Design Researcher
Messagefirst | Designing Information. Beautifully.
----------------------------------
Contact Info
Voice: (215) 825-7423
Email: todd at messagefirst.com
AIM: twarfel at mac.com
Blog: http://toddwarfel.com
Twitter: zakiwarfel
----------------------------------
In theory, theory and practice are the same.
In practice, they are not.

2 Sep 2009 - 6:46am
Jarod Tang
2007

On Wed, Sep 2, 2009 at 7:21 PM, Todd Zaki Warfel <lists at toddwarfel.com>wrote:

>
> On Sep 1, 2009, at 11:32 PM, Jared Spool wrote:
>
> No, I wouldn't. Dozens of interviews I've conducted with self-proclaimed
>> UCD professionals shows there is very little overlap in what UCD means or
>> what a UCD professional does.
>>
>
> Precisely why we use a data-driven goal oriented design approach and not
> user-centered design approach. With a data-driven goal oriented design
> approach we can make room for things like user goals, business goals, etc.
>
> I'm wondering what's behind the data? maybe user's needs and motivation,,
which is the thing matters?

-- Jarod

--
@jarodtang
http://designforuse.blogspot.com/

2 Sep 2009 - 7:12am
Ali Naqvi
2008

Todd,
how do you collect your data? is it quantitative or qualitative
data?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=45169

2 Sep 2009 - 11:20am
Christian Crumlish
2006

I think behind this polarization is a history in which, for example, there
was a perception that engineered products did not take the user sufficiently
into account, so there was a campaign, or philosophy, or set of
methodological tools that marched together under the banner of advocating
for the user.
I think the concept of usability engineering most likely derives from a
similar, perhaps earlier impulse: a diagnose that things were sometimes
functional but difficult to use, and that studying the user's efforts to use
the product might provide insights into how to improve it by making it more
usable.

I think the user interface and user experience terms (after both "usability"
and "ucd") derive from the same impulse again. To this day UED or UX or UI
people on digital product teams often feel that they are, among other
things, the user's advocate, the person gently and tactfully reminding (or
annoyingly and condenscendingly lecturing) the engineers that lay people
("end users") have to be met halfway.

I think if we called ourself empathomancers we wouldn't get as many gigs.

So when I see Jared tweaking the collective noses of the UCD industry, it
looks to me like in many ways there is agreement on some vague premises
("consider the user"); disagreement on the relative value of different
concerns ("center more on the user," "the user is not the center"); mixed
views of how the playing field is currently tilted and what would most
improve our processes; strong disagreement around the veracity, utility, and
scientific validity of various methods; and a little bit of professional
mindshare meme competition around which framing terms will yield the most
value in the marketplace.

-x-

On Wed, Sep 2, 2009 at 4:21 AM, Todd Zaki Warfel <lists at toddwarfel.com>wrote:

>
> On Sep 1, 2009, at 11:32 PM, Jared Spool wrote:
>
> No, I wouldn't. Dozens of interviews I've conducted with self-proclaimed
>> UCD professionals shows there is very little overlap in what UCD means or
>> what a UCD professional does.
>>
>
> Precisely why we use a data-driven goal oriented design approach and not
> user-centered design approach. With a data-driven goal oriented design
> approach we can make room for things like user goals, business goals, etc.
>

So you practice Big G design... :D

-x-

8 Aug 2010 - 8:55pm
Maurice
2009

Thanks for the forum IxDA!
I wish I had come up with the design/patent for the little plastic thingy at the end of every shoe lace.
It's design from cradle to grave!

I LOVE THIS PLACE!!!

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