From Hartson & Pyla’s The UX Book: Process and Guidelines for Ensuring a Quality User Experience (Ch.1 / Agile Chapter)

  • H/P agree with Garrett that UX has long been both the province of computer science (function) and human factors (information/communication) (XX). This means that successful user interaction id heavily dependent on the relation between design and implementation.
  • H/P have some guiding principles for UX: 1) Be goal-directed; 2) Don’t be dogmatic; 3) Context is everything; 4) The answer to most things is “It Depends.”; 5) It’s about people.
  • UX: “The totality of the effect or effects felt by a user as a result of interaction with, and the usage context of, a system, device, or product, including the influence of usability, usefulness, and emotional impact during interaction, and savoring the memory after interaction. ‘Interaction with’ is broad and embraces seeing, touching, and thinking about the system or product, including admiring it and its presentation before any physical interaction” (5).
  • Contextual inquiry: “an early system or product UX lifecycle activity to gather detailed descriptions of customer or user work practice for the purpose of understanding work activities and underlying rationale. The goal of contextual inquiry is to improve work practice and construct and/or improve system designs to support it. Contextual inquiry includes both interviews of customers and users and observations of work practice occurring in its real-world context” (9).
  • Phenomenological aspects of interaction: “the cumulative effects of emotional impact considered over the long term, where usage of technology takes on a presence in our lifestyles and is used to make meaning in our lives” (12).
  • Work activity theory from a Activity Theory orientation vis-à-vis Scandinavia/Russia/Germany is a predecessor to HCI inasmuch as it pushes for ethnographic methods from Anthropology.
  • Agile development: “is a rapid and lightweight approach to software and system development characterized by ultra fine-grained iteration. Coding begins very early, producing early and frequent small releases representing small but working functionality” (620).
  • Agile development works because of these tenants (Beck 2000 – Extreme Programming Explained):
    • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
    • Working software over comprehensive documentation
    • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
    • Responding to change over following a plan (621)
  • Customer story planning in agile development: the practice of using customer/user narratives to define wants/needs in the agile software development process. User stories describing features that bring value/utility initiates request aggregation. Prioritizing by users results in developmer implementation.
  • Agile development requires communication, not documentation; hence, the development of forum-based help/FAQ sites rather than comprehensive formal documentation (630).

Some preliminary thoughts on Hartson/Pyla’s UX Book and RGS

  • Contextual inquiry: This methodological approach in UX seems apropros for connecting RGS and UX. Need to dig more here; however, a sustained investigation into user practices should yield “an understanding of work activities and underlying rationale,” or, in RGS parlance, an understanding of the structural and substantive qualities of work . . . or at least a mapping of the types of situations and their exigence in the social world of work/play.
  • The phenomenological aspects of interaction are an odd exercise in synchronicity and diachronicity. From the synchronic perspective, UX is a phenomenon experienced anew in each technological interaction. This allows for slight modifications of use . . . and a corresponding transformation in the genre at an incremental rate. From the diachronic perspective, the phenomenological aspects of UX are intimately tied to the social exigence and formal structure of genre constructions over time. As such, the user experience is cumulative and the aggregate is bound up in the formal and substantive needs the genre (technology) fulfills. Bringing together RGS from an Activity Theory orientation with contextual inquiry via analyses of phenomenological interactions produces a culturally-bound, historical analysis of UX that accounts for form, substance and medium inside sociocultural-historical systems and moments of incremental change.
  • Agile development: Seems like is always already in a process of agile development . . . especially because spaces like The Laboratory allow for users to connect to the development cycle via requests/discussions/etc. The Laboratory is essentially the space where contextual inquiry occurs as this is a site that exists outside the bounds of work. Questions to be considered: 1) What’s the relationship between agile development and the phenomenological aspects of interaction?; 2) How does that aforementioned relationship fit in with an RGS approach to understanding tool mediation and UX?
  • Customer story planning (Hartson & Pyla 622) is the primary way that agile softare development processes proceed in sites of participatory archival creation/curation === sites of distributed social production. This is especially true of open-source CMS development (think WordPress, Joomla!, Drupal, Gazelle).

Leave a Reply