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Agile Interaction Design

Posted by Wed, 30 Aug 2006 19:36:00 GMT

6 comments Latest by Adrian Howard Mon, 04 Sep 2006 18:52:57 GMT

I would like to start some dialogue with all of you…

In a recent post, Jeremy Voorhis said the following about About Face 2.0 in his post announcing his Agile Book Club.

About Face 2.0 isn’t bad; it’s full of some great advice. My biggest gripes with it are the follows:
  • It declares that programmers are just unfit for interaction design.
  • It advocates for waterfall development.
  • Cooper has a defensive tone whenever discussing his beloved discipline of interaction design.
  • The web chapter is dated.
If you can get over all of those things, it is full of great ideas, specifically about working with personas, and data entry and retrieval.

I disagree with a few of these conclusions. In particular, that Cooper advocates waterfall development. I’ve been hearing a lot of developers throw the word, “waterfall” around… but why?

Take the following excerpt from this great conversation between Kent Beck, the father of XP, and Alan Cooper.

“During the design phase, the interaction designer works closely with the customers. During the detailed design phase, the interaction designer works closely with the programmers. There’s a crossover point in the beginning of the design phase where the programmers work for the designer. Then, at a certain point the leadership changes so that now the designers work for the implementers. You could call these “phases”—I don’t—but it’s working together.”[1]

I’m curious as to how anyone would consider this to resemble Waterfall, which might imply that Cooper’s approach to Interaction Design is incompatible with the principles behind the Agile Manifesto.

Dave Churchville posted an article last year titled, Agile Interaction Design?, which discussed how the role of an Interaction Designer (ID) can be compatible with Agile methodologies. “An ID team probably becomes the voice of the customer in Agile methods, and as such should be working closely with the development team as well as the users. In that sense, the ID role may be more of a liaison between customer and developer.”

So, do you think that Interaction Design as described by Alan Cooper… is compatible with the principles of the Agile Manifesto?

UPDATE It looks like this conversation was picked up on the Joel on Software discussion boards.

1 http://www.fawcette.com/interviews/beck_cooper/page8.asp

The PLANET ARGON dot ORG project and asset compiling gone wild

Posted by Fri, 26 May 2006 14:17:00 GMT

InfoQ recently unlaunched their new site that is dedicated to “tracking change and innovation in the enterprise software development community.” One of the first articles published on the site was written by Jeremy Voorhis, Lead Architect at PLANET ARGON. Jeremys’ article, Agile Asset Management with Ruby DSLs outlines an approach we took on a client project earlier this year for managing tons of assets for a Rails application. Our development team extracted this work and built asset_compiler, which is now available as a gem on RubyForge and we’ve recently setup a trac so you can post bugs, patches, and all things similar. We’ll be announcing a few more open source plugins, gems, and projects in the near future as well. I know that many of you are wondering when and where acts_as_legacy will show up… keep your eye on the trac. ;-)

To install asset_compiler, run:

gem install asset_compiler

Read the asset compiler documentation.

The PLANET ARGON dot org project

Enjoy!

The Podcast... revisited

Posted by Tue, 23 May 2006 05:11:00 GMT

I saw that you could embed ODEO into your blog… so I figured that I would do it.

If you never got to hear Jeremy and I on the Ruby on Rails Podcast... now is your chance!


powered by ODEO

We discussed Ruby on Rails, PLANET ARGON, PostgreSQL, and all things in between… enjoy!

Stack trace to speech

Posted by Sat, 29 Apr 2006 00:51:00 GMT

16 comments Latest by Linda Mon, 21 Aug 2006 15:09:29 GMT

It must be a Friday.

I got a call about 30 minutes ago from a relay service for someone who can’t speak and needs to use a keyboard to type. So, I accept the call and think it could be a hosting customer, development inquiry… who knows. Immediately, I hear the relay operator say, “I have a stack trace for you.”

I then listened to a woman repeat… character by character... the entire stack trace for an error in a Rails application. I listened… the whole way through… just in case it was a person who needs Rails development.

My developer staff then laughs after I hang up after 20 minutes… and I think to myself… how do I get back at them. o.0

Jeremy signs a book deal

Posted by Thu, 27 Apr 2006 22:37:00 GMT

Someone finally snatched him! Since Jeremy Voorhis started working with PLANET ARGON, he’s talked about how a few publishing companies had contacted him about writing a book on this new fancy web framework… Ruby on Rails. Due to being too busy with PLANET ARGON development projects... he would send them away. Yesterday, he announced that he recently signed a contract with O’Reilly to write Rails in a Nutshell.

Jeremy, Lead Librarian

Congratulations Jeremy!

...does this mean he isn’t as busy with development work? No… it just means he’ll sleep less in the next several months. ;-)

Jeremy and I on the Ruby on Rails Podcast

Posted by Wed, 26 Apr 2006 00:35:00 GMT

While at Canada on Rails, Jeremy and I were interviewed on the Ruby on Rails Podcast!

Check it out.

We talked about Rails development, deployment, hosting, and some of our projects… enjoy!

UPDATE There is now a semi-accurate transcript of the podcast. Read it here

Some of it reads weird… :-)

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