"Micromanagement, though not pervasive, is nevertheless evident. Senior vice presidents sometimes review UI designs of individual features, a nod to Steve Jobs that would in better days have betokened a true honor but for its randomizing effects. Give me a cathedral, give me a bazaar -- really, either would be great. Just not this middle world in which some decisions are made freely while others are made by edict, with no apparent logic separating each from the other but the seeming curiosity of someone in charge."
"This organisational system is only being honest about what really happens in most successful projects.
Projects that succeed always have a character with a vision of what they want, and the determination to make it happen. This is often the reason why very small teams of 1 or 2 people can be very productive and very successful, but there is no reason why large teams cannot achieve the same results.
Very often functionality is implemented in a system just because someone thought that it seemed like a 'cool' idea, and no-one has the authority to just say no. This is how we end up with software products where 99% of all users only use 5% of the functionality."
Anyone fancy a usability/ia job in my neck of the woods?
Salary Circa £35,000
"If you have an exceptional grasp on best practise online, and fancy being part of an outfit which takes user-centred design and accessibility seriously, this one's for you.
We're after an expert in user experience / information architecture to join a leading digital agency in the South West. You'll play a pivotal role in the online delivery team and be a client facing addition working closely with designers, developers, Project and Account Managers.
As you'll be presenting solutions to clients, we'll need you to have an understanding of the underlying marketing strategy behind a campaign, and will give you exposure to a wide range of blue chip brands across varying markets.
As an expert in your field, key responsibilities will include developing user profiles and defining user journeys; creating intuitive site architectures and wireframes. You'll act as the guardian of all accessibility guidelines for the agency and review all key IA documentation before it goes out.
We're looking for genuinely passionate online people here. You should balance creative and technical understanding and know the constraints and possibilities of digital media.
These roles are really rare so if you think you have what it takes, form an orderly queue."
Here is an extract from an article written by Scott Ambler about Agile Usabiity:
I found this article when Scott left a comment on my earlier post about Agile Usability.
To help promote effective collaboration between the two communities we need to clear up a few misconceptions that each community may have with the other. There are several that UEX practitioners may have about the agile community:
The agile community equally suffers from debilitating misperceptions about the UEX community:
It's not very often you turn on the radio while you are doing the washing up and hear a company being berated for not doing a good enough job on accessibility, but this week I was pleasently surprised to hear Tesco and the RNIB having a bit of a ding-dong. You can read an extract from the full transcript below:
I would say this site technically is probably accessible, it probably does meet most of the triple A compliance requirement. What they've not done and what they've forgotten to do is do basic usability testing. That wasn't the only problem I found. I also found, for instance, if you inadvertently hit the return key it takes you to a place you don't want to be, so then if you use alt left arrow to go back you get timed out. Speaking to other visually impaired people over the weekend there were also issues when you go to check out. What strikes me Gary here, more than anything else, is it just hasn't been properly user tested.
With me in the studio is Julie Howell, who's from the RNIB and helped Tesco with their site, as is Nick Lansley, who's the IT manager for Tesco. Julie, what advice were you giving Tesco on this redesign?
I must start by saying Tom I'm horrified by the experience that you're having there, just atrocious and you sound incredibly patient.
And hungry and a week and a half of messing about is not what you should have to go through when you're just trying to get your food and other supplies from Tesco. I can tell you a little bit about the way that RNIB works with Tesco. The changes that you're experiencing are absolutely not changes that are as a consequence of RNIB's advice to Tesco, we'd like to make that completely clear to start with. What we have done with Tesco, we audited the site that they already had, we suggested some changes to them and we then expected the company to come back to us with their revised design that indeed we would do some usability testing on. It sounds like Tesco have rushed ahead far too quickly and have inflicted upon existing customers a site that some people, like yourself, are finding very, very difficult to use. It's not your job Tom to be messing about on the site, Tesco employ people to do that.
Okay Nick Lansley, it sounds like you haven't tested it very much.
I too am a little bit distressed by the experience you've been having. Certainly Tom trying to do a week and a half to do your ordering is certainly not what we wanted to do with the new Tesco access service. We have been building and testing it for the last year and we've been working with a few hundred Beta Test customers over the last few months to try and make sure that we cover all accessibility and important usability standpoints. The service actually launched in March and we actually ran the old access and the new access sites side by side for three months, letting people know on the old access site that there was a three month countdown started and please could you give us feedback if you had any problems. And lots of people did and we made three or four changes to the service to improve it. But the situation at the end of May was that we were - actually quite bizarrely as far as I'm concerned - were actually taking four times as many orders through the new access service as we were the old and we certainly hadn't mentioned this to sighted customers, it's only been available as a message on the old access site.
Julie, that's got to be a sign that they're doing something right, if four times as many people are going through it.
They're clearly doing something right for some people some of the time, which is the problem isn't it. I mean it sounds like Tom is a very experienced access technology user and good for you Tom but there are a great many people who are blind and partially sighted using the computer - using the internet - who don't know a great deal about the technology and nor should they have to. And if you're spending a week and a half trying to get to grips with the system what on earth is it like for those people?
But isn't the fact though that actually for blind people looking at a web page isn't an intuitive experience and essentially you have to learn sites don't you?
Why shouldn't it be an intuitive experience though is my question?
Because you can't see the whole image in one go, for a sighted person it's a different experience, doesn't there have to be a certain amount of learning for blind people when they use a website?
There's a certain amount of learning but it shouldn't be an insurmountable task of the type that Tom describes, that's not necessary.
What changes do you think they need to make now?
I would like Tesco to stop making changes to the site on a day by day or week by week basis, I would much rather Tesco slowed down, took stock, worked on a redesign and had an agency, such as RNIB, or any other agency that can provide specialist advice in this area to have a look at it as a whole and to feed back changes, rather than what appears to be happening right now, which is Tesco making changes in response to customer feedback without looking at the whole picture.
How far off are they from making an accessible site?
I don't know, I'm just hearing with horror the experience that Tom is having. We would love to have an opportunity to say stop, let us see what you're doing now.
Words matter. Psychologists depersonalize the people they study by calling them “subjects.” We depersonalize the people we study by calling them “users.” Both terms are derogatory. They take us away from our primary mission: to help people. Power to the people, I say, to repurpose an old phrase. People. Human Beings. That’s what our discipline is really about.
Don Norman - Words Matter
If you look at the screenshot for the older PC version you may spot a couple of differences.
The sample video is titled "Google Recruiting Video" in the PC version, but on the Mac version the video is called "An Inside Look At Google."
You will also notice a difference in the thumbnail images at the bottom of each video. On the PC version you will see that Sergey has got his eyes closed in the sampled frame, but in the Mac version this frame has been replaced with one that shows Sergey with his eyes open.
The Google PR Police have obviously extended their power base in Mountain View.
(I have added the latest Google accessories to Simply Google).