Agile development has recently captured the imagination of many software development teams—and with good reason: its focus on producing working software quickly is well suited to today’s fast-paced markets. But how do you go about combining agile with user-centered design (UCD) so you can enjoy the benefits of both approaches? On the face of it, they should work well together because both philosophies are iterative, incorporating testing with users and refinement. But in practice, they often conflict with one another.
An agile approach such as Scrum tries to minimize up-front planning in favor of producing working code quickly. Plus, agile generally prefers in-situ workshops for gathering requirements, while UCD largely favors up-front user research. Agile also uses working software as its primary measure of progress, while UCD focuses on whether users can easily achieve their goals—with or without software. To add to these discrepancies, because agile is typically led by developers, while UX professionals usually drive UCD, the differences between these two approaches can result in political conflicts in many companies. Read More
Not long after I went independent, a friend who works at a well-known global advertising agency asked if I would be interested in helping out on a high-profile Web site redesign project. I was pretty stoked. He suggested I come in to meet his team. After meeting with the lead developer and project manager, I was told they wanted to bring me on. All I had to do was to meet the creative director.
When he finally got a chance to sit down with me, the first thing he asked was something I wasn’t prepared for: “Can I see your portfolio?”
I hadn’t brought one. “I can give you the URL,” I said. We weren’t near a computer.
His glassy response: “I’m not sure what we have to discuss if I can’t see your work.” And with that he asked that we reschedule for a time when I could come back with my book. Then he left. Read More
In this edition of Ask UXmatters, our experts discuss whether it is a good idea to offer fixed-price or fixed-duration UX design services. In exploring the pros and cons of such services, our expert panel suggests that designers consider how well they know their client and how familiar they are with the details of a project. Our expert panel also discusses whether designers should charge according to the value they provide or simply for their time. The panel discusses the risks of fixed-price services and cautions designers against commoditizing their services in the marketplace.
Our expert panel also considers offering some combination of hourly, fixed-price, and monthly retainer services and where each of these approaches is most appropriate. The panel explains some common pitfalls of offering fixed-price services and provides alternatives to offering fixed-price or fixed-duration services. Finally, the panel advises UX designers to create a Statement of Work that clearly defines the scope of a project and the terms of their agreement with a client. Read More