contact data and affiliation
mr. Willem van den Ende, MSc
Software Engineering Research Centre
P.o. box 424
3500 AK Utrecht
As a consultant, my job is to aid customers in building and designing software products. Where appliccable try to introduce XP practices. To make people think about their process we present XP as a kind of mirror to their process. Some objections indicate a lack of fit between XP and the organization. Often, however, objections reveal weaknesses in their current process. For one 'misfit' I will suggest a problem / solution pair.
XP is generally against specialization, but clients often have "GUI designers" who design only user interfaces and web-pages. How can they be incorporated into a team?
One might ask: what is the task of a "UI Designer"?. It is analogous to the task of a programmer, who provides functionality desired by the customer. The task of a UI designer is to provide usability. Usability in the context of XP means that users can carry out the tasks defined by user stories easily and effectively, so the whole of software and users provides business value to the customer.
Achieving usable programs requires the creation of effective interaction and aesthetically pleasing interfaces. This is something not many programmers are capable of.
Efficient interaction requires a view of the whole application. That is why interaction design specialist advocate BDUF driven by interaction designers.
Specialization can be dangerous for small projects and companies because of the truck number.
If usability is important for the success of your product, introduce the role of Usability Coach. During the Planning Game, the Usability Coach can do mock-ups of the user interface on a whiteboard. She is responsible for maintaining application-wide interaction consistency when stories are added. During an iteration a Usability Coach pairs with programmers working on User Interface elements. The Usability Coach is an interaction designer with a good grasp of human factors. She does not have to be an expert in Object Orientation and Design Patterns, but has experience in programming and is aware of the Model View Controller pattern and UI portability issues. By pairing with developers, the Usability Coaches' skills hopefully transfer to programmers.