Tuesday, January 02, 2007

OzCHI 2006: Donna Maurer puts UCD in its Place

A few words of caution to User Interface Design Teams ...

"Focus less on user-centred, and more on design,' said Donna Maurer, in combative mood, as she addressed the OzCHI 2006 conference in Sydney last month. 'There is no correlation between having a UCD team and producing good stuff. Some UCD teams produce garbage; some companies manage very well without.'

Viewing her keynote's theme of "User-centred design in Practice – is it working?" from a practitioner perspective, the independent interaction designer and information architect pulled apart various Gods of usability: 'Jakob Nielsen should be removed from the galaxy – teach principles, not rules,' she insisted.

Nielsen peddles the idea that developers are stupid and our community treats them like they are dumb, she went on. But many usability practitioners are in over their heads, she suggested, making design recommendations without any design training and not staying with what they know best.

Running through some 'typical' characters to be found in UCD at present, from the experienced practitioner to someone with a couple of years' website development experience, she turned and said:

'Notice I just stereotyped everyone. I hope you think about that when you use personas. I don't use personas, but I'm not going to talk to you about that just now..'

Instead, she listed several other points she believes UCD professionals need to take to heart:

* Eliminate design from tests
* Don't recommend changes unless trained
* View usability is a quality, not a process
* Stop selling usability, start selling design
* Stop acting like the centre of the universe
* Pay more attention to what you do – know your own value."    (Continued via Usability News)    [Usability Resources]


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