Mailbag: Ethnography and Usability: Where’s the Glue. (23 Nov 2005)
I do not recognize anything in the article that reflects any design process that I have ever encountered. Not that this is surprising since there is almost nothing about design in the article. Yet how can that be? It is supposedly about UCD. So let’s be clear: Design is the operative word here (literally) as the verb in the phrase, “user-centered design.” Usability and ethnography have no meaning or relevance in product development without design. It is the glue that not only makes them relevant, but binds them to a common theme. (And let me anticipate the cries of, “No, it is the user that bind them together!” Of course ethnography, usability, and design all have a concern for users, usability, and utility. But were it not for the product being designed, they wouldn’t be there.) So if ethnography and usability are coming unstuck, how can we have any kind of meaningful discussion of the issue when this glue is omitted from the discourse?
Article URL: http://www.billbuxton.com/interactionsUCD.pdf
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