Category: usability


Designers v Developers

The amusing Infographic created by Six Revisions:

http://bit.ly/aN8AHh

Started me thinking about the role Scrum has in breaking down barriers between disciplines.

Scrum teams derive their strength and ability to deliver diverse projects by focusing different skill sets in to one team. The input of design or testing is similar to Pair Programming in that the developer works closely with a team member from another business discipline. Partners from testing, design or other areas are swapped in and out depending on the needs of the project.

Working as a designer in a Scrum team I work closely with the developers to achieve excellence in User Experience. The team has recently won an industry award for delivering outstanding functionality in a high-profile website. The award was achieved by the marriage of technical excellence and elegant User Experience.

The fusion of different disciplines in products such as Microsoft Blend, Adobe Flash and Xcode’s Interface Builder reflect the needs of an audience, which expects a good user experience in a product that ‘just works’. Agile software development breaks down barriers and encourages communication between team members, which helps us to produce great products.

The mythical ‘designer/developer’ or devigner that excels in both disciplines is just that, a myth. 
The strength of the Scrum approach is that it encourages developers to understand and get involved with the User Experience and designers to appreciate the technical excellence required to make a product fly.

It’s a party not a war – or do you disagree?

Don’t Make Me Think

Don’t Make Me Think

We are constantly assailed online with a maelstrom of multi-media gimmicks and toys. It’s easy to forget that usability is king and that all this cool stuff comes with a price. The price might range from slight-annoyance to lost sales. Steve Krug reminds us all that usability is common sense and gives advice on how to achieve a balance in our work.

Everybody who works in online marketing or web development can relate to these kind of ‘religious debates’:

http://aspnetresources.com/blog/being_peoples_voice_in_usability_debates

Steve makes the case for basing decisions not on opinion but on empirical evidence and the experience of leading online retailers.

The technical strengths of the devevlopment team have been underpinned with an adherence to the principles of ‘Don’t Make Me Think’ which were shared with senior internal management and key decision makers in our major client organisation. (I have distributed many copies of this book at the expense of the business I work for, but the return on that investment has been tenfold)

If you haven’t read Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug and you work in web development or marketing I highly recommend you grab a copy – it’s only a 2-3 hour read and is worth its weight in gold.