New year's upon us and it's time for some changes. I'll be starting a new assignment in 2010, as a user experience architect embedded into a development team for managed security services. I've moved somewhat from what my focus was when I first started this blog. Then my focus was on user assistance; now I have much broader responsibilities for shaping the total user experience. Of course user assistance stays a part of those broader responsibilities.
I now get to concentrate on an old passion of mine, going back to my CheckFree days, and that is how to integrate user experience design into the technology design and development process. I like being embedded in the design and development team, a model I worked in at CheckFree. I have a basic disagreement with Jabob Nielsen who measures the maturity of a user experience presence in a company by how independent its practitioners are organizationally. It takes me back to my old manufacturing days where we felt that Quality had to be managed by someone outside the production chain of command. Later thinking changed to putting it back onto the shoulders of those who made the product. I feel the same way about usability and user experience design--it is an intrinsic part of the product and should not be separated from the measure of good code writing. Code that works well but renders a lousy response time would not be regarded as good code; nor should code that renders a bad user experience.
I'm not naive about the implications that producers, anxious to meet due dates, will push out bad product if not overseen by third-party watchdogs. Well, that's the challenge that fascinates me. I think the solution is in well-defined processes and well-written requirements, not in separating functional requirements from non-functional.
The new Blog title is a bit of an homage to Jeff Raskin who wrote The Humane Interface. My focus will be on understanding how we as humans interact with technology and how to design technology to accommodate that.
Happy New Year, everyone.