UE – roles and structures – and the iterative evaluation processes

In this post I’ll call attention to one, of various, way to define some organizational roles relevant to UE and the iterative development.
I would like to appoint these roles to appropriate people and organize them into the overall structure of a development process.
I’ve described one possible development process in my first article on Boxes and Arrows – Here are the links to the article "UX Design-Planning isn’t an one-man-show" and this is the link to a high resolution gif of a possible UXD schedule.

What I'll describe in this article is not the only way to do this, but it is one useful way that has been successful in my experience.
A role is a set of particular and precise responsibilities. Bear in mind in the following article that roles are abstract and as such do necessarily keep up a correspondence to individual people and characters. That is, one person can take on more than one role within a given project and also across projects. And more than one person can share a role, within and/or across projects.

At least four major roles with responsibility for different aspects of the usability, usefulness and practical acceptance in a product and application development process should be distinguished:
… Planning role
… Visual design role
… Developing role
… User role

Very briefly, the planning role takes responsibility for requirements analysis and usability evaluation tasks. A person playing this role should have acquired the skills necessary for these tasks through a combination of an advanced degree program in a related field and on-the-job experience. In the case you ask me which of both are more important I firmly believe it’s the second one. The degree is just the groundwork, the base - but the on-the-job experiences are the bricks to build the usability building. This role takes account of …
… User profiles
… Contextual task analysis
… Usability goal setting
… UX design for the application
… UX framework for the UI
… Iterative conceptual model evaluation
… Iterative screen design standards evaluation (heuristical evaluation)
… Iterative detailed user interface design evaluation
… User Feedback

The visual design role primarily performs design jobs and requires a skill set relevant to that responsibility. My experience is that this role does not necessarily require any academic degrees related to usability or design. The person playing this role might or should have acquired the necessary skills primarily through on-the-job experience and on-the-job training. This role takes account of …
… General design principles
… Platform capabilities and constraints
… Conceptual model design and mock-ups
… Screen design standards
… Prototyping
... UI visual framework
… Style Guide

The developer role is primarily responsible for the implementation for the UI. The only task this role takes responsibility for are …
… conceptual model mock-up
… screen design standard prototyping (coding and implementation)
The main responsibility of this role are tasks from the aoverall development methodology, including …
… prototype development
… UI technical architecture desi9gn
… UI development and coding
… UI technical framework

Finally, another important role relevant to implementation the usability process is that of the user. The user role does not bear primary responsibility for any usability process part, but it’s important to note those task in which participating of users is crucial. Please keep in mind “The final judge of success or failure is the individual user!”
These include …
… user profiles
… contextual task analysis
… usability goal setting
… iterative conceptual model evaluation
… iterative screen design standard evaluation
… iterative detailed user interface design evaluation
… user feedback

Many authors and practitioners believe passionately in participatory analysis and participatory design in which users play primary, active roles in requirements analysis and design tasks. I firmly believe that involving the user into the project and each step and detail, to know what the individual user may think, know or feel, to know as much as possible about his likes and dislikes, helps us a lot and often it decides about success and failure.
How roles are assigned and organized can have a profound impact an the overall success of the whole UE process in developing usable products and applications.


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