One Final Controversy for 2006!

22 Dec 2006 - 3:38pm
7 years ago
4 replies
457 reads
Dan Saffer
2003

One last one before the end of the year:

Donna Mauer's OzCHI Keynote: User-Centered Design: Is it working?

http://www.maadmob.net/donna/blog/archives/000738.html

Some quotes:

"We have to stop selling usability. It doesn’t have a value
proposition. Usability is a quality aspect of something – it is not a
process, an artefact, a deliverable or anything that anyone cares
about what you are going to give them. I read consultants websites
and I think, if I didn’t already know about that, I wouldn’t have a
clue about what you are trying to sell me."

"We’ve got to stop treating people like they are stupid, because
they’re actually not. Developers are not stupid. I think Jakob
Nielsen and Alan Cooper have done our whole field a disservice by
peddling the fact that developers are stupid…They’re working within
what they know, we work within the stuff we know and nobody ever
knows everything. Nobody goes to work to do a bad days work. More
than any community I’ve seen, our community treats them like they're
dumb."

and

"I think that Jakob Nielsen’s stuff should be removed from the galaxy…
all those bloody rules that don’t fit in any context and lure people
into a feeling that you can just get these rules and get it right."

Comments

23 Dec 2006 - 9:15am
Adrian Howard
2005

On 22 Dec 2006, at 20:38, Dan Saffer wrote:

> One last one before the end of the year:
>
> Donna Mauer's OzCHI Keynote: User-Centered Design: Is it working?
>
> http://www.maadmob.net/donna/blog/archives/000738.html
[snip]

Does anybody actually find this controversial? :-)

Should we sell abstract skills rather than how they affect the things
clients are interested in?

Should we treat people like their stupid?

Curiously...

Adrian

23 Dec 2006 - 10:08am
.pauric
2006

Cant speak for the shop/client world, but from inside the old school
corporate structure.. senior management understand the need for vague things
such as 'usability' and UCD. In real terms I go about my work utilising
more modern tools. I maintain the Usability moniker because management
believe its important to have such a role somewhere within the process.

Nielsen had/has captured the mindset of high level decision makers, I feel
the black and white results he produces are easy to digest for them.

That all said, I have seen those who lived and breathed the Nielsen mantra
fall by the wayside, in my experience 'usability' (in the form of back-end
analysis) should be performed once to create front end tools (e.g. design
libraries, shelf presentation layer code, etc) and then shelved. It has
little practical place in ongoing development processes.

24 Dec 2006 - 5:25am
Brad Lauster
2003

I like Donna. I've seen her speak more than once. I also think the
topic of her OzCHI Keynote is both prudent and important. User-
centered design, as a philosophy, is largely inadequate for helping
me frame and find solutions to the problems that I care about.

But, let me also say, WTF? This notion is completely wrong:

"...and Alan Cooper have done our whole field a disservice by
peddling the fact that developers are stupid..."

I'm not an expert on all things Alan Cooper, but I think I'm fairly
well read on the guy and one thing I know is that he *is* a
developer. He's known as "the Father of Visual Basic."

I've probably seen him speak a half dozen times and based on what
I've read and seen, I'd describe one of his major themes as
"designers need to work with developers because their job is really
damn hard." I've never heard him say, or even imply, that developers
are stupid. If he really thought that, I doubt all those developer
conferences would keep asking him back to be their keynote speaker.

If anyone can cite a time when Alan Cooper said developers are
stupid, I'd love to see it.

Brad Lauster

On Dec 22, 2006, at 12:38 PM, Dan Saffer wrote:

> One last one before the end of the year:
>
> Donna Mauer's : User-Centered Design: Is it working?
>
> http://www.maadmob.net/donna/blog/archives/000738.html
>
> Some quotes:
>
> "We have to stop selling usability. It doesn’t have a value
> proposition. Usability is a quality aspect of something – it is not a
> process, an artefact, a deliverable or anything that anyone cares
> about what you are going to give them. I read consultants websites
> and I think, if I didn’t already know about that, I wouldn’t have a
> clue about what you are trying to sell me."
>
> "We’ve got to stop treating people like they are stupid, because
> they’re actually not. Developers are not stupid. I think Jakob
> Nielsen and Alan Cooper have done our whole field a disservice by
> peddling the fact that developers are stupid…They’re working within
> what they know, we work within the stuff we know and nobody ever
> knows everything. Nobody goes to work to do a bad days work. More
> than any community I’ve seen, our community treats them like they're
> dumb."
>
> and
>
> "I think that Jakob Nielsen’s stuff should be removed from the galaxy…
> all those bloody rules that don’t fit in any context and lure people
> into a feeling that you can just get these rules and get it right."
>
>
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24 Dec 2006 - 11:22am
Pradyot Rai
2004

On 12/23/06, Adrian Howard <adrianh at quietstars.com> wrote:
> On 22 Dec 2006, at 20:38, Dan Saffer wrote:
>
> > One last one before the end of the year:
> >
> > Donna Mauer's OzCHI Keynote: User-Centered Design: Is it working?
> >
> > http://www.maadmob.net/donna/blog/archives/000738.html
> [snip]
>
> Does anybody actually find this controversial? :-)

It may be so to many. But to those who understand life-cycle of any
profession, and how it matures, and comes to decline from it's peak
(to become commodity) it is not surprising. It has happened to Web
Design, IT, Art of Programming; and in old times with great tradition
of Art, Architecture, Photography, Print, etc.

Donna's article is good one for stiring the debate, but it is almost
rhetrical pillow bashing, and there's nothing strikingly new. Most of
us knew it already that some good sales people (Usability Gurus) were
selling "common sense" by demystifing other professionals (designers,
programers, etc). And they have done so successfully -- you can't be
in the business of design if it is not good to look at, or intuitive
to work with.

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