ArePersonasReallyUsable? Tharon W. Howard Clemson University tharon@ clemson.edu In their article examining the 40year history of IBM's involvement in usercentered design (UCD) practices, Mark Ominsky, Kenneth Stern, and James Rudd observed that one of the most significant obstacles they faced was communication on crossfunctional teams. Before UCD could really have a significant impact on the design of interfaces and information, team members from different disciplines needed to find ways to communicate. As IBM sought to begin creating teams of software engineers, project managers, marketers, technical communicators and others to work on new products, they found that "Communicating techniques and approaches between consultants from other specialty areas was a serious problem, creating a veritable Tower of Babel, with each consulting practice having its own terminology, techniques, and activity descriptions" (2002, p. 353). Of course, this problem wasn't unique to IBM, and throughout the 90s the usability testing community experimented with a variety of tools and techniques which would allow user advocates to communicate with people from other disciplines. We tried to find effective methods to explain our data on users' goals and needs to software engineers, graphic designers, and other members of the design team in a way which
Communication Design Quarterly Review – acm
Published: Mar 27, 2015
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