Sunday, October 21, 2007

taking the reins

While I was gone, I got assigned to a "team" to do projects for the class. I'm always a little nervous about "teams". I've had some good but also some rather unpleasant dealings in corporate culture over that word.

I'm also a little unsettled because I got assigned to a project app that I wasn't involved with discovery or research or storyboarding about it. And apparently no one else on my team was either. They're not worried though. Well, actually, I've only heard from one teammember. The other is not responding to email. (Apparently gone for the weekend.)

When I asked "If there were no users involved at any point in the process, how can it be "user-centered" design?" I mean, I thought that was the point of what we're supposed to be learning. So - his response: "we're all users ourselves."

We're NOT the users in this project. We're the designers - which automatically makes us too close to the product. The users will be the ones who use the app when we're not around. The ones who have to try to figure out how to get the right settings to get the right info without going crazy, who have to figure out an interface they didn't create. It *matters*. HCI isn't just about technical solutions or about following some w3c guidelines. HCI is about *humans* being able to use the technology without getting headaches over it, it's about apps not being designed by geeks for geeks, it's about thinking about the person who will use this app and about what matters to them.

So - being me, I decided to create a googledoc and invited them to it so we can all write down questions (and answers) about what we'll be prototyping. Even if we haven't been able to do the contextual inquiry, we can have a specific "user" to prototype around.

Anyways - we'll see how they respond. I am just not going to walk in on Tuesday and sit down to make something up. If the class was just about generic "innovation" and "making stuff up" - I can do that. But that's *not* what we're supposed to be doing in this class.

So - we'll see how this "team" works out.

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