'User' Business Analyst - apparently

16 Nov 2004 - 2:05pm
9 years ago
41 replies
736 reads
Narey, Kevin
2004

[Prologue]
Set the scene - A large multi-technology IT development 'shop' - 68
developers 4 Software Architects 1 IxDer 4 BA's

[ACT I]
A blustery conversation ensues between the Ambitious IxDer and the Nefarious
Development Manager (NDM) about improvements to the software development
process. The IxDer is 'informed' that User Centred Design is a subset of
Business Analysis....

NDM Stands on stage, arms crossed, exhibiting defensive demeanour.
Ambitious IxDer enters stage right with wild look and near to wobbling lower
lip....
"Business Analysts look at business and system process and do not represent
the user's goals or intents in any documentation deliverable."

NDM:
"BA's should look at every level of requirement including the goals of the
user. User goals are just a more granular requirement from 'concrete'
requirements represented by use-cases - we just have poor business analysis
methods."

Ambitious IxDer goes white with rage with now clearly visible wobbling lower
lip....
"Business Analysts rarely have visual design communication skills."

NDM:
"I previously got a graphic designer in to do the visual stuff if it was
needed...."

IxDer becomes suddenly visibly devoid of ambition....
"User Centred Design is an ethos which addresses the current dogmatic
system-centric design philosophy and should therefore encompass the whole
project to arrive at equilibrium"

NDM:
"It's not an ethos it's the minutiae of requirements around user research
and Business Analysts should be trained enough to do it"

<Desk placed on stage>

Disheartened IxDer starts clearing desk....
"An IxDer should be capturing requirements based on what the user needs
rather than a BA who should concentrate on the system/business constraints"

NDM: "OK so you're a User Business Analyst then..."

IxDer looks at audience, shrugs shoulders and continues with resigned look,
but not defeated...

[Epilogue]
Will the Ambitious IxDer ever prevail? Will User Business Analyst be the new
title for the IxDer? Will UCD be regarded as an ethos by managers or just
another subset of Business Analysis? Will any form of Design ever be taken
seriously by Development managers?

Until the next appalling epi.....

Bad theatre?

Kevin

**********************************************************************
gedas united kingdom limited
Registered in England no. 1371338

This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential
and it may be privileged.

It is intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to
whom it is addressed.

If you have received this in error, please contact the sender
and delete the material immediately.
**********************************************************************

Comments

16 Nov 2004 - 2:36pm
ldebett
2004

Or good comic? Sounds like a job for the strip at OK-Cancel! =)

~Lisa

---------------
> Bad theatre?
>
> Kevin

16 Nov 2004 - 2:58pm
Listera
2004

Narey, Kevin:

> The IxDer is 'informed' that User Centred Design is a subset of
> Business Analysis....

...and goes to his cubicle to polish off resume and thinking if his
resignation notice would be better delivered as ASCII text or a mini-Flash
movie.

Ziya
Nullius in Verba

16 Nov 2004 - 4:25pm
Jennifer Brownson
2004

--- "Narey, Kevin" <Kevin.Narey at Gedas.co.uk> wrote:

>
> Bad theatre?
>
> Kevin

No. The last 6 years of my life, concisely
represented.

Jen

__________________________________
Do you Yahoo!?
The all-new My Yahoo! - Get yours free!
http://my.yahoo.com

16 Nov 2004 - 5:44pm
Listera
2004

Jennifer Brownson:

>
> No. The last 6 years of my life, concisely
> represented.

You need a hug.

Ziya
Nullius in Verba

17 Nov 2004 - 1:13pm
Lada Gorlenko
2004

NK>[Prologue]
NK>Set the scene - A large multi-technology IT development 'shop' - 68
NK>developers 4 Software Architects 1 IxDer 4 BA's

NK> [Epilogue]
NK> Will the Ambitious IxDer ever prevail? Will User Business Analyst be the new
NK> title for the IxDer? Will UCD be regarded as an ethos by managers or just
NK> another subset of Business Analysis? Will any form of Design ever be taken
NK> seriously by Development managers?

NK> Bad theatre?

The world according to Big Projects and Big Service Providers. 1:4
ratio of UI design team to BAs sounds too good to be true for some.
How about 1:10+ on a large multi-release government-funded project...
(Am I entitled to a bear-size hug at this point?)

I don't blame BAs for treating UCD as a subset of Business Analysis
though. For some considerable time, we (user-centred designers) have
been too obsessed with user-centricity, in exactly the same way
as graphic designers are obsessed with creativity and aesthetics.
Well, bad for us - the world is not restricted to user goals. They
mean little when don't fit business goals of the body that funds
the design work. There should be at least three legs to support a
balanced design: stakeholder goals, business goals, and user goals.
The design sphere (see Ben Hunt's article) should be determined not
by functional vs. aesthetic richness, but by by the three sets of
goals. The goals may be later tranlated into the
functionality/aesthetis space, but the goals are the compas.

I don't believe BAs need to have design skills. I believe that user
requirements are part of design responsibility. "I am a Designer -
I solve problems" (C). However, we have the right to claim ownership
of the upstream process only when we make business goals our problem.

For those who are interested in design methodologies, for the past
couple of years IBM has been developing User Engineering - a design
process rooted in UCD, but largely extended to make business value
the driving mechanism behind design. User-importance is still there
and will always be, but we seek to provide measurable values to all
parties who own and use the product. See www.ibm.com/easy; still
very much work under development, but will give you a good overview.
I am part of the team (whenever I don't work on customer projects);
if you have any comments, please address them personally, I'll
summarise and post what may be of interest to the list members.

Lada

17 Nov 2004 - 1:25pm
Listera
2004

Lada Gorlenko:

> User Engineering

Please, please, please, change that most unfortunate phrase.

The last time I was" engineered" the doctor was wearing latex gloves.

Ziya
Nullius in Verba

17 Nov 2004 - 2:11pm
Pradyot Rai
2004

Lada Gorlenko <lada at acm.org> wrote:

<Snip>
> I don't blame BAs for treating UCD as a subset of Business Analysis
> though. For some considerable time, we (user-centred designers) have
> been too obsessed with user-centricity,...
> ...Well, bad for us - the world is not restricted to user goals...
</Snip>

A bear size hug from me. I thought, that was too brave.
I think too, we are responsible for not claiming things which
naturally belong to us. Nobody is in disagreement here. However, the
point of disagreement is on how these can be achieved. I think, by
nature, Designers tend to focus on things at hand, silly things (such
as what should be our title/profession, etc.) not on overall picture,
role play or leadership/ownership stake. They enjoy working as
"liaison", so called "experts" or "consultant". That leaves the higher
decision making to others, i.e. BA in this case.

Prady

17 Nov 2004 - 2:23pm
Jennifer Brownson
2004

--- Prady Rai <pradyotrai at gmail.com> wrote:

> They enjoy
> working as
> "liaison", so called "experts" or "consultant". That
> leaves the higher
> decision making to others, i.e. BA in this case.
>
> Prady

Bingo.

__________________________________
Do you Yahoo!?
The all-new My Yahoo! - Get yours free!
http://my.yahoo.com

17 Nov 2004 - 3:01pm
Gerard Torenvliet
2004

Ziya:

I don't think you need to have such a visceral reaction to the term
'engineering'. In my experience, using an engineering-related name and
having some engineering-related skills are useful ways to get cred
with the people who ultimately have to implement your designs.

In places where the inmates are running the asylum, sometimes it's the
best way to start to effect change.

Regards,
-Gerard

> Please, please, please, change that most unfortunate phrase.
>
> The last time I was" engineered" the doctor was wearing latex gloves.

--
Gerard Torenvliet
g.torenvliet at gmail.com

17 Nov 2004 - 3:13pm
Pradyot Rai
2004

Gerard Torenvliet <g.torenvliet at gmail.com> wrote:

> I don't think you need to have such a visceral reaction to the term
> 'engineering'. In my experience, using an engineering-related name and
> having some engineering-related skills are useful ways to get cred
> with the people who ultimately have to implement your designs.

I don't think the word "engineering" is that appalling. So my 50%
support to you. It is the combination "user engineering" which gives
notion that you are messing with medical sciences :-)

How about "User Interface Engineering". Should that be ok?
And please, what's the difference between "User Interface Designer"
against "User Interface Engineering"? I have degree in both --
Engineering, and Design, but haven't figured that out yet.

Help me.

:p

17 Nov 2004 - 3:28pm
Listera
2004

Gerard Torenvliet:

> to get cred with the people who ultimately have to implement your designs

Gerard, I hear what you are saying, but I don't buy it. One way to stiffen
up one's spine is not to bend with every breeze. We should be proud to be
Designers, not just some reflection/appendage of another group that,
incidentally, thinks nothing of dominating the process.

I'm a Designer: I Solve Problems.
I'm an Engineer: I Solve Problems.

Sorry, our problems are different.

If they want to "engineer" the user, at least please let'em wear latex
gloves.

Ziya
Nullius in Verba

17 Nov 2004 - 8:06pm
Lada Gorlenko
2004

>> User Engineering

L> Please, please, please, change that most unfortunate phrase.
L> The last time I was" engineered" the doctor was wearing latex gloves.

GT> I don't think you need to have such a visceral reaction to the term
GT> 'engineering'. In my experience, using an engineering-related name
and
GT> having some engineering-related skills are useful ways to get cred
GT> with the people who ultimately have to implement your designs.

PR> I don't think the word "engineering" is that appalling. So my 50%
PR> support to you. It is the combination "user engineering" which gives
PR> notion that you are messing with medical sciences :-)

Agree with everyone. 'User' was inherited to demonstrate continuity
with UCD, 'engineering' is there to buy techies into it, and the
result is rather... disturbing. I am against the term with all my
heart (a self-respecting politician would have resigned here and now),
but sometimes it serves a rather useful purpose of checking whether
readers ever see the content beyond the name. Have to say, it works
like magic! :-)

Lada

17 Nov 2004 - 8:18pm
Listera
2004

Lada Gorlenko:

> 'engineering' is there to buy techies into it

Why do you need the approval stamp of techies for IA/UI/UX design?
Is the head of this effort so powerless within the IBM org?
Does IBM have an "advertising engineering" effort?
How's about "financial engineering"?
Where does the madness stop?

Rhetorically speakin'.

Ziya
Nullius in Verba

17 Nov 2004 - 8:51pm
Lada Gorlenko
2004

L> Why do you need the approval stamp of techies for IA/UI/UX design?

We need the approval of a few Senior VPs to make what we think is
a good design process a company-wide design process. We need the
interest of hundreds of middle-level managers to get invited to do
design by designers (not developers) on their client accounts. We
need the commitment of a few thousand project managers to implement
the method on their projects and give us funding to do it.

Are you surprised that pin-striped CTOs are just normal techies
who once programmed in Assembler?

L> Where does the madness stop?

Where the World According to Good Design Practice begins :-)

L> Ziya
Lada

17 Nov 2004 - 6:34pm
Jared M. Spool
2003

At 03:13 PM 11/17/2004, Prady Rai wrote:
>How about "User Interface Engineering". Should that be ok?

Considering how much I have invested in stationary, I sure hope so! :)

Jared

Jared M. Spool, Founding Principal
User Interface Engineering
4 Lookout Lane, Unit 4d
Middleton, MA 01949
978 777-9123
jspool at uie.com
http://www.uie.com

17 Nov 2004 - 10:12pm
Listera
2004

Lada Gorlenko:

> We need the approval of a few Senior VPs...

My question was alluding to the boss(es)of those SVPs. In other words, isn't
there a senior enough person to declare design an IBM-wide priority and have
the authority to make depts follow it? [1] If not, you're going to need a
lot of hugs obviously.:-) I was hoping that this "engineering" effort of the
last few years was the start of a companywide priority.

Ziya
Nullius in Verba

[1] The way nobody needs to remind anybody else at Microsoft that there's a
"Windows tax" to be paid for every product/strategy or at Apple that good
design derives everything else.

17 Nov 2004 - 10:15pm
Pradyot Rai
2004

Jared M. Spool <jspool at uie.com> wrote:
> Prady Rai wrote:
> >How about "User Interface Engineering". Should that be ok?
>
> Considering how much I have invested in stationary, I sure hope so! :)

Jared,

This was not personally about the brand that you have established. But
it is about the perception. When the IT bureaucracy wants to label you
as "User Interface Engineer" (and not as UI Designer), there's good
reason. It is expected to follow their engineering (software)
processes, not the one that is conducive for Design to show its full
potential.

There comes the distinction between two words "design" and
"engineering". Engineering is supposed to be cookie cutter. While
"design" is to map the reality, by being innovative, creative and
"free" from conventional engineering wisdom.

But as the "User Interface Engineering" term goes, I think it is most
suitable for those who are on the implementation of design, not who
create/establish design. There are few managers who are trained to
handle design (or design processes) in industry. But, I am a witness,
it is changing fast.

So in my opinion you must change your stationary next time you do the
revision :-)
I know you by your work, you do a lot which falls under diffinition of design.

Thanks,

Prady

17 Nov 2004 - 10:21pm
Jared M. Spool
2003

At 10:15 PM 11/17/2004, Rai wrote:
>I know you by your work, you do a lot which falls under definition of design.

That's interesting, because we do virtually *no* design. (Except of our own
products and services.)

Of course, we rarely do any *engineering* either.

The name is now 16 years old, chosen before "usability" was common parlance
and when designers, in the sense that we are now talking about, didn't
exist. So, it's somewhat anachronistic.

But we like it. And most people call us UIE anyways. Maybe, like IBM and
FedEx before us, someday we'll bite the bullet and change our name to what
people call us...

Jared

Jared M. Spool, Founding Principal
User Interface Engineering
4 Lookout Lane, Unit 4d
Middleton, MA 01949
978 777-9123
jspool at uie.com
http://www.uie.com

17 Nov 2004 - 10:29pm
Pradyot Rai
2004

Jared M. Spool <jspool at uie.com> wrote:
> At 10:15 PM 11/17/2004, Rai wrote:
> >I know you by your work, you do a lot which falls under definition of design.
>
> That's interesting, because we do virtually *no* design. (Except of our own
> products and services.)
>
> Of course, we rarely do any *engineering* either.

Well, I have enough doubts about my own diffinitions, and that's why I
posed the question. So here's the question again -- Why did you sattle
with UIE and not UID? What is the distinction between Design and
Engineering?

I want to correct my biases, if there's any.

Prady

17 Nov 2004 - 10:57pm
Jared M. Spool
2003

At 10:29 PM 11/17/2004, Rai wrote:

>Jared M. Spool <jspool at uie.com> wrote:
> > At 10:15 PM 11/17/2004, Rai wrote:
> > >I know you by your work, you do a lot which falls under definition of
> design.
> >
> > That's interesting, because we do virtually *no* design. (Except of our own
> > products and services.)
> >
> > Of course, we rarely do any *engineering* either.
>
>Well, I have enough doubts about my own diffinitions, and that's why I
>posed the question. So here's the question again -- Why did you sattle
>with UIE and not UID? What is the distinction between Design and
>Engineering?

Because, when we started, 16 years ago, Design was not a job function, at
least in software products. (There were industrial designers, but you
didn't find them in the software world.)

Instead, design was a phase of development, after requirements, before
coding. (Though, as was often joked, many did coding first.)

And, I'm not a designer. I was a software engineer and our targeted
audience was filled with engineers. So, calling ourselves an engineering
firm made sense.

If we were starting today, we'd probably name ourselves something more 21st
century, like Snogria, Aggramatis, or Encapsulatium. Or, maybe something
that ends with 'nt', as was all the rage in the dot com boom.

Alas, we're still "User Interface Engineering"

Jared

p.s. For those thinking of using it, Snogria is pronounced LUGS-UR-EE YAWKT.

Jared M. Spool, Founding Principal
User Interface Engineering
4 Lookout Lane, Unit 4d
Middleton, MA 01949
978 777-9123
jspool at uie.com
http://www.uie.com

17 Nov 2004 - 11:10pm
Listera
2004

Jared M. Spool:

> Alas, we're still "User Interface Engineering"

You say you don't do design or engineering.
Have you discovered another discipline worthy of a distinct title?

Ziya
Nullius in Verba

18 Nov 2004 - 1:38am
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

On Nov 17, 2004, at 7:57 PM, Jared M. Spool wrote:

> Because, when we started, 16 years ago, Design was not a job function,
> at least in software products. (There were industrial designers, but
> you didn't find them in the software world.)

Not to quibble, but there was. I was one of them. I even have business
cards from 16 years ago that say "user interface designer" on them.
Also, Apple had plenty of people with the same title.

Andrei

18 Nov 2004 - 3:49pm
H Taylor
2004

I am impressed with IBM's efforts to embrace UCD, but I have to concur
that the phrase "User Engineering" sounds awfully like an attempt to
engineer the users, as opposed to the systems which are supposed to be
serving them...

- Hal

Gerard wrote:

> I don't think you need to have such a visceral reaction to the term
> 'engineering'. In my experience, using an engineering-related name and
> having some engineering-related skills are useful ways to get cred
> with the people who ultimately have to implement your designs.
>
> In places where the inmates are running the asylum, sometimes it's the
> best way to start to effect change.

In respose to Ziya's

>> Please, please, please, change that most unfortunate phrase.
>>
>> The last time I was" engineered" the doctor was wearing latex gloves.
>
> --
> Gerard Torenvliet

18 Nov 2004 - 4:04pm
Jim Leftwich
2004

> From: "Jared M. Spool" <jspool at uie.com>
> Date: November 17, 2004 7:57:23 PM PST
> To: Rai <pradyotrai at gmail.com>, discuss at interactiondesigners.com
> Cc: Subject: Re: [ID Discuss] 'User' Business Analyst - apparently
>
> Because, when we started, 16 years ago, Design was not a job
function,
> at least in software products. (There were industrial designers,
but you
> didn't find them in the software world.)

Perhaps in his haste to make his point, Jared drifted into
generalizations without realizing it.

I'm an industrial designer by training and consulting, and yet I was
focused squarely in interaction design (GUIs, interactional
architectures, information architectures) from the early 1980s on.
Software, medical and industrial devices with software interfaces, and
systems.

In 1988 I was involved in the development of Sun Microsystem's Open
Look GUI, and was developing my InfoSpace whitepaper that was exploring
internet browsing, the combination of browsing and OS desktop/space,
information visualization, distributed metadata strategies, and more.
Design was by no means unknown in the software world in the late 1980s,
and there were numerous industrial designers beginning to work in this
field.

It wasn't nearly as many people as could be found in the
then-burgeoning multimedia world, which later seeded much of the early
web work and went on to dominate all things interactive (including the
misnomer that interaction design was limited to "media", rather than
also encompassing products and systems).

I've found that a lot of web and software people tend to overlook the
people who were deep into this field prior to their own participation.
When I was getting into the field in the early 1980s, I met many people
who were involved in the field in the 1970s, coming from fields
including industrial design, graphic design, technical writing,
filmmaking, and more.

It may be true that there have never been enough industrial designers
in the field of interaction. It's one of the reasons behind the small
number of us with experience in the development and integration of
systems where the interaction is both physical and
informational/visual.

Jim Leftwich, IDSA
Orbit Interaction
Palo Alto, CA
jleft at orbitnet.com
http://www.orbitnet.com/
http://www.well.com/www/jleft/orbit/infospace/

18 Nov 2004 - 4:04pm
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

On Nov 18, 2004, at 1:04 PM, Jim Leftwich wrote:

> I've found that a lot of web and software people tend to overlook the
> people who were deep into this field prior to their own participation.
> When I was getting into the field in the early 1980s, I met many
> people who were involved in the field in the 1970s, coming from fields
> including industrial design, graphic design, technical writing,
> filmmaking, and more.

Amen to that.

Andrei

18 Nov 2004 - 5:07pm
Julian_Orr at p...
2004

In my experience you can "engineer" users its more often called "training"
and usually costs 3k/week.

Then no matter how crap or complex your system is you can alway "engineer"
someone to use it. An averagely crap system requires 1-2 weeks training
for end users and 3x that for Admins. Not to mention on the job
engineering.

The only downside comes when another company doesn't want to engineer a
user so they hire your pre-engineered user away from you.

Bumper Sticker: "User Engineering, Keeping IT salaries Justified since...."

Wha happened?
jlz

Julian_Orr at Peoplesoft.com
-------303-334-5257-----------

|---------+----------------------------------------------------------------------->
| | "H Taylor" <taylor at critpath.org> |
| | Sent by: |
| | discuss-interactiondesigners.com-bounces at lists.interactionde|
| | signers.com |
| | |
| | |
| | 11/18/2004 01:49 PM |
|---------+----------------------------------------------------------------------->
>----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
| |
| To: discuss-interactiondesigners.com at lists.interactiondesigners.com |
| cc: (bcc: Julian Orr/PeopleSoft) |
| Subject: Re: [ID Discuss] 'User' Business Analyst - apparently |
>----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

[Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted material.]

I am impressed with IBM's efforts to embrace UCD, but I have to concur
that the phrase "User Engineering" sounds awfully like an attempt to
engineer the users, as opposed to the systems which are supposed to be
serving them...

- Hal

Gerard wrote:

> I don't think you need to have such a visceral reaction to the term
> 'engineering'. In my experience, using an engineering-related name and
> having some engineering-related skills are useful ways to get cred
> with the people who ultimately have to implement your designs.
>
> In places where the inmates are running the asylum, sometimes it's the
> best way to start to effect change.

In respose to Ziya's

>> Please, please, please, change that most unfortunate phrase.
>>
>> The last time I was" engineered" the doctor was wearing latex gloves.
>
> --
> Gerard Torenvliet

_______________________________________________
Interaction Design Discussion List
discuss at ixdg.org
--
to change your options (unsubscribe or set digest):
http://discuss.ixdg.org/
--
Questions: lists at ixdg.org
--
Announcement Online List (discussion list members get announcements
already)
http://subscribe-announce.ixdg.org/
--
http://ixdg.org/

18 Nov 2004 - 6:03pm
Listera
2004

Julian_Orr at peoplesoft.com:

> In my experience you can "engineer" users its more often called "training"
> and usually costs 3k/week.

If I recall correctly, IBM makes about four times as much in
consulting/services as in software sales. So that would justify IBM's
business model: selling complexity and charging a premium for services that
"solve" it.

Contrast that with a company like Apple that just never had any of the
sales/support/training infrastructure that a company like IBM (or Oracle,
Microsoft, etc) has and, therefore by sheer business logic, has no choice
but to tame technology and drastically reduce complexity/training/support to
stay competitive.

I'm an admirer of a lot of things IBM has done (basic science and some large
scale projects among them). However, I have an extremely difficult time
putting UCD and IBM together. There's little business case for it. Before
"engineering" their users, IBM would be wiser to consider redesigning their
own products first, starting with behemoths like DB2, WebSphere, etc.

Ziya
Nullius in Verba

18 Nov 2004 - 8:41pm
Janna Cameron
2004

> Agree with everyone. 'User' was inherited to demonstrate continuity
> with UCD, 'engineering' is there to buy techies into it, and the
> result is rather... disturbing. I am against the term with all my
> heart (a self-respecting politician would have resigned here and now),
> but sometimes it serves a rather useful purpose of checking whether
> readers ever see the content beyond the name. Have to say, it works
> like magic! :-)

At least where I'm from (Ontario, Canada) "engineering" really isn't a
descriptor that you can just give something to buy techie goodwill.
http://www.peo.on.ca/

If the "engineering" isn't done by professional engineers, it may be a
turn-off for someone who has the professional designation to work with this
group. The name may actually do more worse than good.

Janna
-engineering grad who can't call herself an engineer

19 Nov 2004 - 7:03am
vutpakdi
2003

--- Listera <listera at rcn.com> wrote:
> If I recall correctly, IBM makes about four times as much in
> consulting/services as in software sales. So that would justify IBM's
> business model: selling complexity and charging a premium for services
> that
> "solve" it.

IBM does make a lot more money these days selling consulting and services
rather than software sales. But, it isn't necessarily because of selling
complexity and then selling services which solve it. Many of the contracts
involve IBM implementing a system from scratch or deploying a system
developed by a third party.

Ron

=====
============================================================================
Ron Vutpakdi
vutpakdi at acm.org

19 Nov 2004 - 9:47am
Jared M. Spool
2003

At 01:38 AM 11/18/2004, Andrei Herasimchuk wrote:

>On Nov 17, 2004, at 7:57 PM, Jared M. Spool wrote:
>
>Because, when we started, 16 years ago, Design was not a job function, at
>least in software products. (There were industrial designers, but you
>didn't find them in the software world.)
>
>Not to quibble, but there was. I was one of them. I even have business
>cards from 16 years ago that say "user interface designer" on them. Also,
>Apple had plenty of people with the same title.

I stand corrected.

Let me rephrase:

...Design was not a job function amongst the unenlightened east-coast
companies we were targeting...

:)

Jared

Jared M. Spool, Founding Principal
User Interface Engineering
4 Lookout Lane, Unit 4d
Middleton, MA 01949
978 777-9123
jspool at uie.com
http://www.uie.com

19 Nov 2004 - 9:51am
Jared M. Spool
2003

At 11:10 PM 11/17/2004, Listera wrote:
>Jared M. Spool:
>
> > Alas, we're still "User Interface Engineering"
>
>You say you don't do design or engineering.
>Have you discovered another discipline worthy of a distinct title?

We think we do applied research.

Jared

Jared M. Spool, Founding Principal
User Interface Engineering
4 Lookout Lane, Unit 4d
Middleton, MA 01949
978 777-9123
jspool at uie.com
http://www.uie.com

19 Nov 2004 - 10:06am
Lada Gorlenko
2004

>>You say you don't do design or engineering.
>>Have you discovered another discipline worthy of a distinct title?

JMS> We think we do applied research.

Interesting. People whose official job (department) title contains
'applied research' are rarely clear about its meaning :-)

Lada

19 Nov 2004 - 10:10am
Jared M. Spool
2003

At 10:06 AM 11/19/2004, Lada Gorlenko wrote:
>JMS> We think we do applied research.
>
>Interesting. People whose official job (department) title contains
>'applied research' are rarely clear about its meaning :-)

From the recent conversations on this list, one could say the same for
those whose official job title contains "designer", no?

Jared

Jared M. Spool, Founding Principal
User Interface Engineering
4 Lookout Lane, Unit 4d
Middleton, MA 01949
978 777-9123
jspool at uie.com
http://www.uie.com

19 Nov 2004 - 10:16am
Lada Gorlenko
2004

>>Interesting. People whose official job (department) title contains
>>'applied research' are rarely clear about its meaning :-)

JMS> From the recent conversations on this list, one could say the same for
JMS> those whose official job title contains "designer", no?

JMS> Jared

Indeed! I wonder, does it apply to all people whose job titles
imply some above-average level of intelligence? :-)

Lada

19 Nov 2004 - 10:51am
Jared M. Spool
2003

At 10:16 AM 11/19/2004, Lada Gorlenko wrote:
>JMS> From the recent conversations on this list, one could say the same for
>JMS> those whose official job title contains "designer", no?
>
>JMS> Jared
>
>Indeed! I wonder, does it apply to all people whose job titles
>imply some above-average level of intelligence? :-)

Dennis Miller once suggested that it might apply to everyone whose job
doesn't entail wearing a name tag with only their first name.

Jared

Jared M. Spool, Founding Principal
User Interface Engineering
4 Lookout Lane, Unit 4d
Middleton, MA 01949
978 777-9123
jspool at uie.com
http://www.uie.com

19 Nov 2004 - 11:24am
Jared M. Spool
2003

At 10:58 AM 11/19/2004, Donna Timara wrote:
> > We think we do applied research.
>
>I do applied research too. But I am a designer. Who are you, again?

Damned if I know...

Jared

Jared M. Spool, Founding Principal
User Interface Engineering
4 Lookout Lane, Unit 4d
Middleton, MA 01949
978 777-9123
jspool at uie.com
http://www.uie.com

19 Nov 2004 - 10:58am
Donna Timara
2004

Jared M. Spool <jspool at uie.com> wrote:
> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted material.]
>
> Listera wrote:

> >You say you don't do design or engineering.
> >Have you discovered another discipline worthy of a distinct title?
>
> We think we do applied research.

I do applied research too. But I am a designer. Who are you, again?

Donna

19 Nov 2004 - 2:41pm
Listera
2004

Jared M. Spool:

> We think we do applied research.

You said you don't do design or engineering. Assuming you do the research,
who does the applying? And how?

Ziya
Nullius in Verba

21 Nov 2004 - 11:26am
Will Tschumy
2004

Hey All-

I'd like to come back to something that was touched on earlier in this
thread, prior to the engineer / designer sub-thread:
The relative weight of user requirements vs business requirements

This is an issue that I deal with every day in my company (I work for a
large software company that serves the lottery market world wide). We
pay lip service to UE (it's why I was hired, and silly me, I thought
that my consulting work there was going to be an indication of what
fulltime would be like), but at the end of the day, delivery's have to
be made, and it really doesn't matter what it looks like as long as we
can take wagers at a given time on a given day.

So, given this, I've begun to think about the following causes:
- There's no organizational measure of 'success' in UE. Because
managers aren't evaluated on this axis, why spend any attention on it?
- Cost justification. I have found it extremely difficult to get any
traction in this area outside of talking about cost avoidance (in
training, but the numbers are soft) or in cost savings for developers
by using pure CSS based design or JSF widgets.

This has frustrated me immensely. I've tried to spearhead two separate
revisions of the Software Development Lifecycle (talk about a
cumbersome / inaccurate name) - both have failed due to organizational
inertia.

What this leads me to is the following: If we're to really change how
we as a discipline play within the software / technology industry, we
need to do one of two things:
- only work for companies that 'get it'
- develop a set of industry best practices to justify the value of our
work

For my company, NPV is king. As such I just finished an analysis
showing why a common style sheet / css based page layout was a good
idea from an NPV perspective. Other companies will want ROI, other
companies will want increased sales, etc... If we can justify why User
requirements are valuable in the language the company uses, then it
seems to me that we're much farther along the path of UCD.

Does anyone else out there have similar experiences?

Thanks. Will.
On Nov 19, 2004, at 2:41 PM, Listera wrote:

> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
> material.]
>
> Jared M. Spool:
>
>> We think we do applied research.
>
> You said you don't do design or engineering. Assuming you do the
> research,
> who does the applying? And how?
>
> Ziya
> Nullius in Verba
>
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> Interaction Design Discussion List
> discuss at ixdg.org
> --
> to change your options (unsubscribe or set digest):
> http://discuss.ixdg.org/
> --
> Questions: lists at ixdg.org
> --
> Announcement Online List (discussion list members get announcements
> already)
> http://subscribe-announce.ixdg.org/
> --
> http://ixdg.org/
>
>
for wct01 at earthlink.net
-----BEGIN PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK-----
Version: PGP 8.0.3
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=Cv53
-----END PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK-----

21 Nov 2004 - 1:09pm
kjnarey
2004

Will:

>- Cost justification. I have found it extremely difficult to get any
>traction in this area outside of talking about cost avoidance (in
>training, but the numbers are soft) or in cost savings for developers
>by using pure CSS based design or JSF widgets.

Application support costs, training costs, productivity costs (a real
eye-opener when delved into), wasted development costs (features that are
never used etc) and the less measurable (but highly probable) brand damage,
negative customer relations/perception etc..... - no manager worth their
salt will walk away from the results of a few choice hours research into a
presentation of these stats.

Jared Spool wrote an article a while back on this common 'getting your
company to listen' issue as "the cost of frustration". It's just one
approach however. <http://tinyurl.com/5dq2o>

>This has frustrated me immensely. I've tried to spearhead two separate
>revisions of the Software Development Lifecycle - both have failed due to
organizational
>inertia.

One of the fundamental ['big org' innie?] problems we face is reversing the
trend in the distant lack of validated business requirements eventually
dictating user requirements. The inevitable 'system focus' problems are not
fundamentally changed by tinkering with technology, although this can be a
useful 'sit up and notice' tactic in a 'technology priority' environment.

This thread already wrote about the importance of us being involved further
up the 'decision-making' chain in concert with Business Analysts and Systems
Architects. Until ['big org' innie?] IxDers get to this point in the chain,
where business context can be examined as a whole, UCD methods will have
very little significant impact.

Kevin

21 Nov 2004 - 2:09pm
Listera
2004

Will Tschumy:

> Because managers aren't evaluated on this axis, why spend any attention on it?

This is an excellent observation. As a consultant one of the things I must
do in the first meeting or so is to gauge if the success/failure of what's
proposed I do will change anything and to what degree? If management has
little riding on the success/failure of the outcome (not so uncommon), I'm
in for a ride of small deaths.

> - only work for companies that 'get it'

This is how markets generally work, so it's a natural. Personally, no day
day goes by where I don't wish that some company or other that has abysmal
customer/user experience would wither away.

> - develop a set of industry best practices to justify the value of our work

That would still be very hard to sell at a place that doesn't get it,
because you are asking managers to do things that are not in their
personal/pocketbook interest, as you pointed out.

This is a tough issue for us all. As long as our contributions are limited
to narrowly delineated "deliverables" we're doomed to be marginalized. This
is why I keep ranting about moving up the food chain and having a seat at
the table when product decisions are made, not just when design has to be
tacked on downstream to some process that has already been shaped by
considerations other than UCD. That's very hard to do at places that are not
organized to take competitive advantage of design.

Ziya
Nullius in Verba

Syndicate content Get the feed