Webstock 08: Tuesday: Kelly Goto, The iterative app

I think that I was probably looking forward to this workshop the most because I missed her workshop last time and it sounded fun through the walls and then I did hear her speak at the conference in 06 and she was great. I was not disappointed. This was certainly the most active workshop that I went to. Every table was provided with pens and paper, post-its and scissors and there were plenty of exercises to drive Kelly’s messages home.

This workshop was about how we develop applications or websites, anything really. It was about changing our methodology so that we enter a rapid development / web 2.0 type process and brought in idea from”agile development”, “extreme programming” and user centred design. The goal is creating amazing experience for the end user.

The way to do this is to enter an iterative process where we come up with the key features, prototype, user-test in either a pre-launch or live environment, refine and then re-enter the process. The key elements are testing and iteration.

Testing involves using real users. Kelly showed us how easy it is to recruit and use real users and how effective it is to test even paper prototypes – designing an application with bits of paper and cut-outs to simulate the way it miight work. We did this in an exercise and our two testees gave us real insight into improvements we might make, challenging our assumptions and finding things that we simply hadn’t noticed. The testing also demonstrated what features were worth focusing on for our Beta release.

Iteration means focusing on the key features and launching a live product with only those features, then testing the application in the real world and coming back to fix / refine the application and/or add new features. Then the testing and launch process begins again.

We could/should be using this kind of process for any new web developments/designs. Interesting how the theme of user testing repeats and repeats. It was great to get to try this out on a real person with a semi-real application.

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