Archive for the ‘Agile’ Category

Agile and the importance of cultural understanding

Friday, April 16th, 2010



Image courtesy of  Stewf

  Though I work in UX, a core interest of mine is not so much the practical application of tools but the importance of the organisation of the teams behind creating the best products and being aware of the cultural makeup of those teams.

Getting this right allows us to concentrate on the production of the best ideas and solutions and generates momentum and further inspiration.

Holistic concept models: an ROI blueprint

Sunday, November 30th, 2008


process    I read a post recently that illustrated how concept models are rarely used in the right way and are often  misunderstood. Are they really worth doing at all?


Now seems a good  time to expand on the tool that Dan Brown has popularised through his book Communicating Design. Not as simply a stand alone tool but one that can provide a blueprint for giving solid ROI on design, analytics and testing.


The what, when and why of wireframes

Thursday, June 26th, 2008


I recently presented at a conference on the humble wireframe and thought it would be a good idea to run through some key points. I have also noted that some feel the wireframe is dead, though if anything its more alive now than ever. Pay heed to 37 signal’s take on the subject…

If a wireframe document is destined to stop and never directly become the actual design, don’t bother doing it. If the wireframe starts as a wireframe and then morphs into the actual design, go for it.

Yahoo! Pattern Library is open for all

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008


yahoo   All this talk of recession and the web is currently awash with generosity. After my favourable words about the BBC who gave us a view of their new design language, Yahoo! have decided to go one better and provide their entire pattern library and developer tools for free.

Very kind and of course there is a monetary side to it but the new site is live here and during the day long workshop they gave at the IA Summit 2008 the complete set was given away on a memory key.

(more…) An IA case study

Wednesday, December 5th, 2007

The old

This was not so much a redesign, or even a relaunch, but more of a resurrection of a site that had become tired, old and ineffective. Its many shortcomings were highlighted with the onslaught of the new generation of sites from competitors that used user-generated content and a more social networking approach to their presentation layer.

As this site represented the best of computer related business journalism, it was apt that it should be the company’s first site that underwent a complete overhaul from the ground up.


Inclusive, collaborative, Agile UCD

Tuesday, November 6th, 2007


boundary-spanner   When thinking about how teams work very often there needs to be a person who can become the glue that holds it all together.

A person who can do this has a special talent, not only can they motivate a variety of personalities but they can bring it all together for the common good.

They are given the name boundary-spanner in a white paper on the subject (paid for content) by Rizal Sebastien. (more…)

Walk before you run

Tuesday, March 13th, 2007

Agile is the buzzword of the moment. It seems odd that so many large organisations are embracing this web methodology without addressing their organizational structure. To be agile after all requires one to be light weight, nimble and free to move quickly. The term is ironic when so many web teams are weighed down by product managers, brand guardians, marketing teams and business owners. All are absolutely necessary but can hinder effective web development if a confused process is followed.

A user centred approach is also a necessity but can be felt as something that gets in the way. ‘Agile’ wants to produce software that a user values, can interact with and use with maximum efficiency. UCD is concerned with a product that the user wants, even before design and build, and it ensures the user moulds the product whilst it is created.

Personally I feel that Agile often misses a trick, it is not a complete process when UCD is not represented during the development sprints. In other words, if a professional with the user or customer in mind is not present at key stages the project will inherit failings.

I do feel that the principle of Agile/Scrum is a sensible solution, the Beta push can not be denied as a cost-effective and impressively quick way to get your product to market. However, if proper user research has not been conducted to verify the purpose of the product, who it is for, how it should work, then it will not fulfil its potential. Only public refinement will occur in the ‘live’ environment. It may take a year before several sprints are complete to revisit a problem noted in a snag list as long as it is complex.

Real, considered, user data through user interviews, persona creation and prototype testing before build will always result in a better product.