RamsThoughts

June 3, 2016 9:25 pm

Engineering Quality vs UX Quality (Knowledge vs Understanding)

Quite an interesting concept about what and how our mind perceives learning into the muscle memory and the effort it takes to unlearn and re-adapt based on the newly learned information. The important thing to note is, it is doable. Adapting to change is what creates the engine going. In this video, the designer talks about the understanding and the tacit knowledge with an example of riding a bicycle.  The knowledge could have possibly come from the previous understanding. Just because we understood some concept doesn’t mean it gets into our DNA right away, it takes enough practice and re-emphasis to make it happen. The take away from this talk is – Understanding, Knowledge and Adapting to the change with the newly found information.

knowledge1

Looking at this video at first, I used part of my “fixed mindset” to conclude, why should we design bicycle differently. I later changed it to an “open mindset” and applied the thoughts to other areas. I would suggest you to watch this with an open mind and look for the implicit concept and areas it can be applied to.
(Picture : from the video)

 

https://youtu.be/MFzDaBzBlL0

On one of the products I worked few years ago, though we Engineering wanted to upgrade to a better UI, a better performance, on a better and improved technology – the users weren’t ready to accept. Given a mission critical revenue generating application, the business wasn’t ready to accept a new proposed changes. We met with business team to understand the rationale and realized – One of the key resistance points was, the users were so much used to the product, including the tab order (note: the tab order was incorrect at that time), and such a change (though corrective) would derail their productivity with unlearning and learning process. We negotiated differently and found alternate ways to upgrade eventually.

 

Looking around, I see several products that we use fall under this category.

  • Do you see similar examples around?
  • Are there any products that you use for yourself, and you wouldn’t appreciate if it was changed?  🙂

 

 

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May 22, 2009 4:46 pm

Rounding Currency…

Filed under: Banking,Customers,Software Quality,Tech,UX - User Experience — ramsblog @ 4:46 pm

It is often interesting how the UI screen validation goes, and not all the scenarios completely thought of when the applications are released to public.  Here is an example, although my screenshot was taken a long time ago, it was misplaced and couldn’t get to it back then. Anyways, The minimum payment due on my account was $3/- while my statement balance due was $2.59/- Why should I pay $3/- when I owe less.

 clip_image002

Agreed there are three options and I could choose to pay what I owe with the 2nd option and proceed further, but it is apparently misleading the customer saying “your minimum payment exceeds the amount you owe!”

clip_image004

another observation: why should the default be at the minimum payment Due when the statement balance is less. Agreed, there is a note “payment must be at least $1.00 and cannot exceed your current balance” , however it would be a better user experience if the default was set to statement balance when it is less than the Minimum payment due. I don’t know how MinimumPaymentDue calculated, it is probably at least $3.00 or percentage of the balance due. But this assumption conflicts with the note of “at least $1/-

just a thought! There is an opportunity to improve in the way we communicate to the customers. The way build the relationship with customers. The way me make the life simpler to the customers and not complicate with unnecessary ambiguous messages we provide on our sites.

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February 14, 2008 12:02 am

Functional Specification – a Bible?

In Software development arena, I often hear people saying, “Functional Specification document is like a Bible for us.” Well, I tend to question this statement. It is too much ambiguous to me. What does a Bible mean? Does it mean the key source of information? (note: I am not pointing to the holy Bible). I asked if that is what they meant – whether as a key source of information for application development and testing. I heard “Yes – the information in this document is fairly technical in nature and derived from the Requirements Document. ”

Great – so that means, somebody wrote the Requirements as the understanding from the Business owners. The requirements were reviewed by the business owner and the representatives, and perhaps few end users have reviewed the requirements and passed along the feedback. Let’s assume requirements on paper are according to what end users have visualized. Note – requirements might not have all the prototypes and the exact screenshots to help their imagination.

So, now, Functional document is a subset of Requirements depending on the functional ownership of the piece of application. Requirements on the other hand, supposedly, the end to end solution, as what business is looking for. Now, comes the functional dev and test teams, looking at Functional document ” so called the key source” that provides the subset of the requirements. My question is, if the key developers and testers are not even reviewing the requirements, as to what Business wants, how would they be able to translate the piece of software into what business wants. At the end of the day, what we develop is for the end users to be efficient in what they do and not become frustrated of not having the feature they were looking for.

I was often countered, “why would you even want to look at the requirements document when we are deriving the information into Functional?” my answer was “a big picture“. As a developer, at times be blindfolded on 4 key points and forget the rest

  1. Object in question or to be coded
  2. What are the input parameters
  3. What are the output parameters
  4. what are the business rules (logic) go into this object

Well, that does not work for a testing individual to know just that, to perform his job. He needs to know more and beyond the vertical object to ensure many many factors impacting or influencing due to one vertical piece. This kind of information can be obtained :

  • partly from the functional,
  • partly from the requirements and
  • mostly from the end users or the product owner or from the user surveys depending on who the end users are.
  • Additionally, having the prototypes to the end users would definitely be a big bet.

Additionally, being involved in FS development and reviewing the Requirements at the same time and having the prototypes up-front, would potentially save a lot of cycle time at the later time and potentially reduce or eliminate any re-work due to mis-representation during the requirements process. We are all humans, at times what we draw on a piece of paper might be different when translated to the prototypes and users would see in a different angle when presented with at least the prototypes than doing a visio diagram or describing 5 pages for a little dialog box kind of UI.

I just noticed a post from Shrini about testing the Requirements Heuristics. Quite informative.

In summary, please, involve the business owner and the end users as part of the functional development and through the process till the end of the development/testing cycles. This helps the end users feel they are involved and will certainly be a lot of help to the dev/test teams as part of this process and at the same time, they get what they want and be accountable for what they have asked for since they were involved in design and decision process. At the end of the day, product is something that should help the end users to be effective in their activities and not hinder their productivity with a new piece of software application.

From the dev/test teams perspective, it is the quality output that we deliver to the end users / customers (note: the term quality output might be debatable, but let’s go with whatever you define quality as. this post doesn’t go into that level.)

(note: this post was not reviewed before posting to the blog)

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