August 21, 2002

Why XP and UX have Something in Common
George Olsen shares his experience and opinions on how to get Extreme Programming (XP) and user experience design (UX) to play well together. As usual, George's thoughts are great -- I can see this being useful to anyone trying to instill UCD practices in an XP or Rational development shop.

"Refactoring - a key principle of XP - may work behind-the-scenes, but it doesn't work for what's visible. In fact a key tenet of refactoring is that doesn't change the observable behaviour of the software, it improves its internal structure. Which needless to say requires that the programming object be well-designed, even if it's first implementations are kludgy."..."While XP programmers understand this in terms of programming objects, we need to get them to understand this is true of the user interface. In essence the entire user interface is just a big collections of "objects" (screens), each with required inputs and outputs. These need to be well-designed before you start coding."

I got a chance to meet George briefly at CHI 2002, and had the pleasure of working with him (as editor) on a Boxes and Arrows article i wrote about that conference. You may also have seen some of George's other work previously:
- Interaction by Design - George's company
- UX Thoughts - George's articles and blog called Thumbnails
- Web Standards Project - George co-founded the WaSP in 1998
- An un-dated interview with George about the WaSP
- He's editor for Boxes and Arrows

As you can see, George needs to get out of the house more. :-)

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