While ASP.NET MVC has made great strides in making development easier, in a post titled “ASP.NET MVC Is the New ASP” Michael Taylor argues that it actually makes it harder on user interface designers.
Shane Morris, a former Microsoft UX Evangelist and currently an independent UX Architect, held a session called “Pimp My App” at TechEd Australia 2010, presenting 5 things to know before starting to create a UX, 4 steps for creating a good layout, and 6 tips on how to make a product look great.
Usability and Teamwork author and consultant Larry Constantine recently wrote two articles about the “Interfaith Marriage” between experience design and agile development. He examines the inherent conflict between the agile and UX perspectives and provides some concrete advice on how to integrate the two into a creative and productive union.
There were a number of sessions at Agile 2010 focused on usability and user experience. Samantha Starmer from REI presented a session titled "Make stuff people can use" that provided practical advice and pragmatic ideas on bringing usability into agile projects, even when there isn't a usability expert as a member of the team.
Microsoft has released a new preview of their WPF-based Ribbon control. Though not the final version, it includes a go live license and a copy of the source code. The quality is quite high and it appears that all of the bugs and API design flaws from last year’s preview have been corrected. While the source code is available, the license only permits read-only access for debugging purposes.
The Cutter IT Journal recently published a special issue on software craftsmanship that included articles on what it means to be a software craftsman, software engineering vs. software craft, the relationship between Agile and craftsmanship, and crafting the user experience.
The adage "A picture is worth a thousand words", is sometimes forgotten in the Agile world. At least, this is what many designers on Agile teams believe. In some teams, designers are required to create small increments of the design and this process does not necessarily produce the best results. For other teams wireframes are considered to be bureaucracy which gets in the way of development.
Most programmers would strive hard to build a robust product with Agile practices and clean code. However, the focus on usability leaves much to be desired. This is despite the well known fact that a good user interface design can spell the difference between acceptance of a software product and its failure. If the end users do not like the UI then the product has little chance of success.
UX specialist Anthony Colfelt presents a case for how agile, alone, might not be sufficient and a thorough and engaging look into how User-Centered Design can, and should, be merged with it.
Some commentators are questioning the level of innovation happening in the Agile space. Does iterative and incremental development lead us away from innovation towards reusing old solutions, building on what we already know rather than creating truly "out of the box" solutions. Adding an R&D stream is suggested as a way to bring innovation into Agile projects.
Mostly usability of a system is ascertained on gut feel rather than being based on some statistical analysis. In a recent discussion on the Agile Usability group, members discuss various ways to evaluate system usability in an objective manner.
In an interview held by Channel 9, Scott Guthrie talks about MIX 2009, Silverlight 3, upcoming VS 2010 Tools for Silverlight, and Expression.
In this presentation filmed during ThoughtWorks’ Quarterly Technology Briefing, Dave Robertson and John Johnston explain what the Agile and User Centered Design’s (UCD) common denominators are, common values being the most important one in their opinion.
Jakob Nielsen, usability guru and author of Usability Engineering, raises the concern that Agile methods are a threat to traditional approaches to designing usability. He goes on to propose solutions so that usability designers can work together in the Agile world. In addition Alistair Cockburn, while generally supporting Jakob, takes issue with a few of his points.
In Bryce Harrington’s opinion, document-oriented paradigm of user interface is not any longer optimal. Most often people deal with streams of information rather than static documents. Harrington advocates for a shift towards a new UI paradigm that would make stream management easier. Many tools and technologies are already based on stream-oriented approach; others are instrumental for adopting it.