Software development house & Usability!

30 Mar 2010 - 7:41am
4 years ago
2 replies
1080 reads
Ahmed Bassel
2008

What is your experience in applying usability practices with 3rd party software development house? 

Assuming you are the UX guru in a software development house, who do the development for other companies. How do you or can you apply the UCD methods and usability practices?

From my experience, software development house always under pressure of budget, time, and their major nightmare "change request". So stepping in the middle with usability test, define persona, wireframes, parallel design, field studies, and so on is not something logical for them. Most of the time requirements are gathered and project plan is already communicated with the client.

What would you do?

Comments

30 Mar 2010 - 12:20pm
tonyzeoli
2008

Ahmed:

My consultancy generally provides the IA & UxD requirements BEFORE we engage the software development house to build the product. If there are functional change requests that come in based on the agile development process we follow, we quickly spec out the changes and implement them on the fly. There are times when we could go back to the original functional specs and adapt them, but that could take too much time to work through the entire architecture document. Especially if one a tight timeline.

I think from a structural perspective, IA documentation provides a wealth of information to developers from the top level down through the entire user experience. But, given the changes that will come, there's no reason to adhere exactly to the documents, which quickly become "old" per se, once you start down the development path.

In my experience, which is in a small agency or start-up environment, you use IA to create the high level road map. When you start getting into the details of development, that's more of a product development role, to be discussed and implemented on that level. You can and should go back out to IA, bring them in, and tell them what you're going to change and at the very least to get some perspective from their point of view.

While some may say that you should go back out to IA and wait for the changes to be implemented, others would say just keep working and make the changes on the fly. It's all about what works for your team, I think.

But, if you're team really does need proper documentation, then it's wise to bring it back out, diagram and test against it, and then implement. Telling the client that you understand they want to move fast, but you don't want to develop something that wasn't fully vetted on paper first. Once you go to code, it's always difficult to go back and re-engineer something. Developers like to move forward and so does the client. Bringing in IA and UxD early and often as the work flows can help keep things on track.

It's not about forgetting IA and UxD after you've brought them in, in the beginning. You have to constantly stay with it through the process.

On Tue, Mar 30, 2010 at 11:48 AM, Ahmed Bassel <a.basel@mail.link.net> wrote:

What is your experience in applying usability practices with 3rd party software development house? 

Assuming you are the UX guru in a software development house, who do the development for other companies. How do you or can you apply the UCD methods and usability practices?

From my experience, software development house always under pressure of budget, time, and their major nightmare "change request". So stepping in the middle with usability test, define persona, wireframes, parallel design, field studies, and so on is not something logical for them. Most of the time requirements are gathered and project plan is already communicated with the client.

-------- *WHAT WOULD YOU DO?* ------------------------------------------------

(
29 Apr 2010 - 9:11am
Ahmed Bassel
2008

I think in the real life cases and if the client is not aware of the UX practices, this doesn't happen.

The RFP already has been sent, pre-sales people already committed on the budget and timeline, the proposal was sent. What would you do?

Syndicate content Get the feed