Adapting Usability Investigations for Agile User-Centered Design

Abstract
When the authors company chose to adopt an Agile development process for new products, her User Experience Team took the opportunity to adjust, and consequently improve their user-centered design (UCD) practices. Their interface design work required data from contextual investigations to guide rapid iterations of prototypes, validated by formative usability testing. This meant that they needed to find a way to conduct usability tests, interviews, and contextual inquiry— both in the lab and the field— within an Agile framework. To achieve this, they adjusted the timing and granularity of these investigations, and the way that they reported their usability findings.

This paper describes their main adaptations. They found that the new Agile UCD methods produced better-designed products than the ‘waterfall’ versions of the same techniques. Agile communication modes allowed them to narrow the gap between uncovering usability issues and act on those issues by incorporating changes into the product.

Adapting Usability Investigations for Agile User-Centered Design