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The Agile & UCD Project

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Project log

Åsa Cajander
added a research item
This book examines the possibilities of incorporating elements of user-centred design (UCD) such as user experience (UX) and usability with agile software development. It explores the difficulties and problems inherent in integrating these two practices despite their relative similarities, such as their emphasis on stakeholder collaboration. Developed from a workshop held at NordiCHI in 2014, this edited volume brings together researchers from across the software development, UCD and creative design fields to discuss the current state-of-the-art. Practical case studies of integrating UCD in Agile development across diverse contexts are presented, whilst the different futures for UCD and other design practices in the context of agile software development are identified and explored. Integrating User Centred Design in Agile Development will be ideal for researchers, designers and academics who are interested in software development, user-centred design, agile methodologies and related areas.
Marta Larusdottir
added a research item
A study exploring the focus on usability in testing practices in software development teams in Iceland using the agile software process Scrum is described in this paper. A survey was conducted to describe how testing is conducted and to what extent testing techniques are used. The results show that unit, integration, system and acceptance testing are the most frequent testing techniques used, but usability testing is not that common. Neither are alpha, beta, performance/load and security testing. Interviews were conducted to exemplify how practitioners conduct usability testing and what they describe as the difference between usability and acceptance testing. Some examples from the interviews show that practitioners are willing to do formal usability testing on extensive parts of the system, but because the iterations in Scrum are short and the changes to the system in each iteration are small, formal usability testing does not fit into the project work. KeywordsUsability-software testing-agile development-Scrum-practitioners
Marta Larusdottir
added 3 research items
Brief description of the topic: Usability evaluation is explored by comparing the effectiveness of using different evaluation methods and by studying how usability evaluation is conducted by practitioners. Research area. Usability, evaluation, agile development, Scrum, practice.
A vast majority of the people in the western world use software systems on daily basis for achieving their goals. To be able to do that each person needs to communicate what he or she wants to do to the system and receive a response. This communication needs to be easy for the user, especially when the system is new to him or her. Otherwise, the user either quits using the system; it takes a very long time or gets very irritated. A software team that is making new software needs to evaluate the usability of the system and various methods have been introduced in the literature to do that. My research focus in this thesis is on usability evaluation. I study particularly, how usability evaluation methods can be compared, what data should be gathered in usability evaluation to gain knowledge on how the software affects users who are getting new software for their daily work and how useful this data is to the recipients. Two experiments are reported in this thesis where results from using three different usability evaluation methods are compared. The main result from
Åsa Cajander
added 16 research items
The Scrum development process has gained increasing popularity during the last decade. At the same time user experience (UX) has emerged as an important quality feature. However, the integration of UX related activities into Scrum projects has not been without problems, and this area needs to be further examined. This paper describes the results from two in depth interviews with knowledgeable UX specialists working in Scrum projects in the prodauct development industry. It describes their ways of working generally with UX, their experiences from UX evaluations and the challenges encountered from their UX work. The main concern when working with UX in Scrum projects is that the big picture of UX is often lacking. Finally, the paper discusses the differences and similarities between the experiences from the UX specialists.
Over the past decades, usability techniques have been introduced into software development practices. At the same time many software development teams have started to use the agile development process --- Scrum --- to plan and organize their software projects. The focus of this study is to explore how usability techniques are integrated during software development in Scrum projects. The most commonly used usability technique in Scrum projects is workshops, followed by lo-fi prototyping, interviews and meetings with users, all used by more than half of the participants. The technique that is most frequently used is lo-fi prototyping used by more than half of the participants two to four times a month. All these usability techniques are informal, meaning that these techniques can be used quickly without much preparation. Formal usability evaluation with users is a highly ranked technique by the participants but not commonly used by them.
Agile development has positive attitudes towards continuously improving work practices of IT professionals and the quality of the software. This study focuses on value adding activities such as user involvement and gathering metrics and non-value adding activities, such as correcting defects. Interviews were conducted with 10 IT professionals working with agile development in Iceland. Results show that IT professionals emphasise communication with users both through direct contact and using email, but they rarely use metrics to make improvements measurable. The most serious non-value adding activities are: partially done work, delays and defects. The core reason is that long lists of defects in the projects exist, which means that the software is partially done and the defects cause delays in the process. There are efforts to reduce non-value adding activities in the process, but IT professionals are still confronted with problems attributed to miscommunication and the impediments by the external environment.