Cambridge University Design / UX group

Design with agility

I have been thinking recently about the approach that I take to running a project. Not necessarily project management as such, but the sort of processes or methodology that I apply to going from initial scoping to the end product. It is something worth considering, particularly if you are going to be working as part of a team, where a specific development process is already well-established.

Now, this isn’t the place to discuss all those different models for development processes, so if you want to know the difference between “pigs” and “chickens”, you can read all about it on Wikipedia!

Anyway, if you have any familiarity with this stuff already, you will know that the Agile model is a popular one amongst development teams. I spotted a couple of good presentations that cover the realities of Agile processes, the pros and cons, and how to fit and design and UX work in with an Agile process.

Here goes with two embedded presentations…

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“Inclusive Design” write-up

Prof Patrick Jordan gave a fascinating talk at the Engineering Dept, on April 29th. In it, he discussed inlcusive design, and specifically “The Four Pleasures – Designing for Inclusive Emotional Engagment“.

But what is inclusive design?

Prof Roger Coleman at the Royal College of Art describes it like this:

Inclusive design is not a new genre of design, nor a separate specialism, but an approach to design in general and an element of business strategy that seeks to ensure that mainstream products, services and environments are accessible to the largest number of people.

Hmmm. Accessibility… usability… sound familiar?

Pat Jordan didn’t mention websites or anything like that once in his talk; it was all about products and consumers. But when you get down to it, the parallels are obvious – we are, after all, producing products that people consume, use, interact with, and so on.

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“Information Visualization for Knowledge Discovery”

Professor Ben Schneiderman speaking at Microsoft Research Cambridge, March 5th, 2009.

Here’s a bit of background: http://www.ukupa.org.uk/cambridge/archives/000627.html

The audience at Ben Schneiderman's talk

The audience at Ben Schneiderman's talk (photo {cc} from Tim Regan's photostream, Flickr)

I was lucky to have been quick-off-the-mark, and get my name down to go to this talk, since it sold out very quickly, apparently. I say sold out, but by some miracle of sponsorship or goodwill, it was entirely free! Lucky us. I found it very engaging, and it gave me lots to think about. And I spell visualisation with an “s”, OK? It just doesn’t seem right with a “z”!

I was able to scribble down a few notes and interesting quotes, and if anything, they might be enough to encourage you to go off and read more about the subject. How it all applies to your web site / app / interface / whatever… well, that’s up to you to think about!  🙂

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