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Agile Development Projects and Usability

Agile methods aim to overcome usability barriers in traditional development, but pose new threats to user experience quality. By modifying Agile approaches, however, many companies have realized the benefits without the pain.

Nielsen, Jakob. Alertbox (2008). Articles>Project Management>Usability>Agile


Crafting a User Research Plan

Every piece of user research is part of an ongoing research program, even if that program is informal. However, making a program formal provides a number of advantages: It gives you a set of goals, a schedule that stretches limited user-research resources, and results when they're needed most. It also helps you avoid unnecessary, redundant, or hurried research.

Kuniavsky, Mike. Adaptive Path (2003). Articles>Project Management>Usability


Featuritis (or Creeping Featurism)

Featuritis or creeping featurism is the tendency for the number of features in a product (usually software product) to rise with each release of the product. What may have been a cohesive and consistent design in the early versions may end up as a patchwork of added features. And with extra features comes extra complexity.

Soegaard, Mads. Interaction-Design.org. Articles>Usability>Interaction Design>Project Management


High-Cost Usability Sometimes Makes Sense

Computing the net present value (NPV) lets you estimate the most profitable level of usability investment. For big projects, expensive usability can pay off.

Nielsen, Jakob. Alertbox (2007). Articles>Usability>Project Management>Planning


If They Don't Test, Don't Hire Them

The single best indicator as to the overall competence of an interaction design team is their plan for user testing. If you are presented with no plan or a sort of vague 'and we'll eventually do some user testing,' you may want to back off and look at other resources. If, on the other hand, you are given a proposal outlining repeated design and test cycles, you are dealing with people who know exactly what they are doing.

Tognazzini, Bruce. Nielsen Norman Group (2000). Articles>Project Management>Usability


Issues in Sizing UCD Projects

Sizing UCD projects presents special challenges to usability practitioners and consultants. Each project and UCD methodology comes with its own set of variables that makes it difficult to accurately estimate resource requirements and completion times.

Usability Body of Knowledge (2007). Articles>Usability>User Centered Design>Project Management


It’s Not a Training Issue

To these stakeholders, it seemed easier to change users’ behavior than to change the design of their notoriously problematic, difficult to modify, internal enterprise application—and actually solve its problems. The application’s design problems seemed so insurmountable to them that training looked like an attractive alternative to improving its user interface. Since the application’s users were employees of their company, it was easy for stakeholders to take the position that they’d just have to adapt. What’s the best way to respond to people who think training is a solution for usability problems?

Ross, Jim. UXmatters (2010). Articles>Usability>Project Management>Collaboration


Ten Ways to Maximise Your Usability Budget

Being frugal during economic hard times is good business practice. So how can you squeeze your usability budget and still deliver great insights? These 10 suggestions for streamlining your usability efforts explode the myth that usability is expensive and time-consuming.

Hodgson, Philip. UserFocus (2008). Articles>Usability>Project Management>Planning


Usability Team Structures

There are two basic alternatives for structuring a usability/UCD group within an organization: members of the group can be centralized in a single department, or, members can be distributed among development teams.

. Usability Body of Knowledge (2007). Articles>Usability>Project Management>Collaboration


A Useful Investment

Proper usability design commonly cuts training costs by 50 percent and increases productivity by 25 percent.

Nielsen, Jakob and Kara Pernice Coyne. CIO Magazine (2001). Articles>Project Management>Usability

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