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phoenixl <[log in to unmask]>
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Wed, 8 Sep 2004 12:07:41 -0700
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Hi, Whitney

The approach I'm going to be taking during my presentation is to have
some focus on my background developing UNIX software at Berkeley.
That way I'll be more in a position to talk about "us programmers" rather
than "those programmers".  The people I'll be doing the presentation for
think that that approach will work wel with their developers.

I agree that the values of product management and also the corporate
culture can play a significnt role in the usability concerns addressed
by developers.  For a number of  years, I've been interested in applying
concepts from organizational development and organizational behavior
to changing both the spoken and behavioral usability values in corporate
culture.  (I've also wondered about applying them to an industry.  For a number
of years I've been trying to get voting equipment manufacturers to address
usability needs in their products.)

Some ideas I've suggested to organizations include:

    promote the idea that usability is everyone's responsibility in an

    include contribution to usability as an aspect of employee performace review

    add a budget line item for usability resources

    give usability contribution awards

    publish usability stories in internal publications or web sites

I think a very useful tool is the "thinking out loud" testing methodology.
Letting developers hear how users think about the software gives them
greater insight while at the same time more strongly conveying the humanity
of the users.  It aids in establishing that connection you mentioned between
craftsman and user.  Using statistics from tests have less emotional impact.


PS  I've been toying with setting up a mailing list on usability and coporate
/ organizational values.  What do people think?