User Centered Design and Agile Development: The Digest

Daphne Ogle daphne at
Wed Oct 24 02:44:04 UTC 2007

Great summary Ray!

I've heard her present this and similar content a few times now.  She  
was one of the presenters at the all day UX in agile environment SIG  
I attended a few months back.  There were over a dozen organizations  
represented.  Even Google and Yahoo have small groups trying to work  
in agile ways.  Autodesk, where Lynn is from, is very happy with  
their process.  An important note is that they are working on an  
existing system so incremental improvements work well -- they already  
have their high level design framework in place.

The biggest challenge / complaint from the group (mostly UX folks)  
was the lack of time for creating a comprehensive UI framework.  I  
think this is much more relevant to new products.   The discussion  
and work we did at the SIG meeting acknowledged that it doesn't make  
sense to spend a ton of time doing detailed design of an entire app  
or large part of it -- we learn so much by building it and getting it  
front users & things change so quickly.  What's missing is the global  
understanding of the system which helps design the UI framework --  
what pages are there and in each page what panes do we need -- to  
create a holistic user experience. In outlook this is:  Pages -  
email, tasks, address.  Panes include - navigation, global view,  
detailed view.  The consensus seemed to be that iteration 0 may need  
to be extended depending on the project.


On Oct 23, 2007, at 11:42 AM, Ray Davis wrote:

> Back from vacation and jet-lagged, I've been catching up on the Fluid
> wiki and found a pointer to this presentation by Lynn Miller:
> Her points so directly address some of the issues we've struggled
> with locally -- and that I'm about to start struggling with again :)
> -- that I've copied the highlights from PDF slides into text form for 
> easier reference. In case it's of use to anyone else, here's my  
> summary:
> The model assumes two groups rather than a single inter-disciplinary
> team, but the coordinated development cycles are kept short (two
> weeks) and cross-talk is frequent.
> Cycle 0: Interviews, usability tests, other research. Get 20 issues,
> rank them, decide on top 5 to be tackled in the first two iterations.
> "No detailed requirements. No designs."
> Cycle 1 for Programming group: Underlying architecture; critical
> functionality with bare-bones UI.
> Cycle 1 for UX group: Design, create prototypes, usability test,
> iterate. Get more target user data for Cycle 3.
> Cycle 2 for Programming group: Make verified prototypes live.
> Cycle 2 for UX group: Usability test of Cycle 1 functionality. Design
> for Cycle 3. Get more target user data for Cycle 4.
> ... continue until everyone's put on another project ...
> Key points that distinguish this from traditional "waterfall"
> functional specifications, and from a less-than-optimal "water
> balloon" UX + Agile hybrid:
>   * Interface designs are completed Just-In-Time rather than weeks
> (or months!) in advance.
>   * Slim deliverables from UX to Programming.
> Since her outline somewhat resembles processes I've seen project
> teams improvise under pressure, I'm inclined to find it fairly  
> feasible.
> Ray
> ========================
> Ray Davis, Learning Systems Group
> Educational Technology Services
> University of California, Berkeley
> Phone: 510-642-8581
> _______________________________________________
> fluid-work mailing list
> fluid-work at

Daphne Ogle
Senior Interaction Designer
University of California, Berkeley
Educational Technology Services
daphne at
cell (510)847-0308

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