in UCD process

why bother calling if you call so late?

Don’t get me wrong… it’s not that I don’t want to work with you. I’d love nothing more to help make sure that your design is great and people love to use your product.

It’s just…  by the time you get to the part in your project plan that says ‘Usability Testing’, there’s not much I can do. You’ve left things too late.

Sure, I know. That’s when you do the usability testing, isn’t it? In that mad rush when you’re trying to get everything coded up and launched. I know, because it usually means that we don’t get much time to do the testing, and it’s usually not with the finished product.

And, you know… that probably would be ok, if we’d have done some testing earlier on in the piece.

OK, so you might not call it testing. You might call it research. Or you might just call it putting some ideas in front of people who might be using your product in the future and seeing what they think.

No, we don’t need your finished product before we can test. Not at all. We’ve tested with scraps of paper in the past and discovered we were heading down the wrong path altogether. We’ve learned a LOT about how our design should work even with some ugly wireframes.

And the great thing is that scraps of paper and wireframes cost nothing… compared to the amount you’ve invested in getting to the ‘Usability Testing’ line item on the project plan.

Compared to the amount you’ll probably have to spend if you want to implement any of the things we’ll probably learn if we do that testing now.

Of course… between you and I…. we know that’s probably not going to happen anyway, is it. There’s no time for changes. There’s a launch date fast approaching, and hardly enough time to finish the work you have already.

We’re just ticking a box here, aren’t we. With the best of intentions.

It’s a shame tho’. We could have been a good team.

We could have got to a kick butt design, one that we *knew* would work. We could have stopped all this coding and re-coding. We could have had good strong answers to questions that the business was asking. We could have taken so much of the guesswork out of it.

We could have been launching this thing with out the sneaking suspicion we’d be back at the drawing board (literally) in the very near future.

But I’ll tell you what I’ve found, and you tell me that you don’t have time to do anything about it.

And hopefully, next time, we can work together from the beginning.

I think that would be a much better idea.

 

  1. and if you say that you can recruit the users yourself don’t complain when you find it difficult or don’t find anyone. Yes it is hard.

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