Usability and design are two fields that collide more often than not. But why is that? Why can’t we all just get along and center our efforts around delivering a better product, a top-notch Web site or a user-friendly interface. Everybody would benefit from an open-minded, reciprocal understanding. Right?
I have participated in, led, and suffered major website redesign efforts. Whether at process-heavy consultancies, notable product companies, or design studios, all teams experience the same points of pain: late feedback, lack of common design vision, and complaints that individuals or teams didnt have enough input.
Big changes and big ideas usually sail through the group with little effort. This is because many do not feel comfortable challenging another persons authority on these big complex ideas–they feel they don’t have enough of a clue. But when the discussion gets down to the little things, the discussion degenerates as everyone has something to say. This is called bikeshedding and it’s dangerous.
Working in teams has its challenges. What would you do if you were part of a team that included software engineers, usability professionals, managers, teachers and elementary school students? What would you do if the team had to learn about web technology and user interface design in a few short weeks and then apply that skill to creating a web page ? Well, we had fun, and we achieved our goal. Join our panel discussion to hear more about an exciting project between members of IBM’s S/390 team and local elementary schools from Hyde Park, New York.