Saturday, August 25, 2007

Thoughts from the onAIR Bus Tour

Wow! I have to say that the creative energy that was in the room was contagious. You couldn't help but get excited about all the things that AIR makes possible. The demos, even the brief Buzzword demo from Ryan, were amazing.

As a UI person, the thing that puts these AIR apps above many other apps is the commitment that their creators have made to the user experience. You definitely get the sense that serious thought was put into how their target users work. Does it mean that they weren't doing Agile? Not necessarily. Given the speed at which many of these apps were built, one might say that it couldn't be done without Agile. I don't have the answer. Perhaps someone who worked on Buzzword, Pownce, Finetune, TwitterCamp (Daniel did you design the UI too?) can post a comment and give us a clue how the UI design fit into your process.

Thanks to all those who gave me feedback on my TimeTracker. I will be incorporating many of the suggestions in coming versions.


Tony said...

Design is the key part of the Teknision process. The majority of the Flash Development community have a huge amount of experience in marketing branding and experience design.

When we developed the Funetune Desktop, the codebase for the application already existed seeing as all of their players across the board are built in Flash. We focus almost totally on user experience design and a little playing with AIR specific features for fun.

The best thing about AIR is that you don't have to write a whole whack of code in an unfamiliar language to get an awesome cross platform experience on to everyone's desktop.

Tony said...

uggghhh I meant Finetune Desktop. My spelling is awful.

Rob McKeown said...

Thanks Tony, I suspected, and am glad to have you confirm, that design was not an afterthought.

Having worked on many Agile projects, I have found that when you treat design as an ordinary story in the development process, you end up short-changing the user. Usually this is do to the desire to get moving as soon as possible combined with the difficulty in refactoring the UI if necessary. In contrast, the most successful projects (from an end-user perspective), Agile or not, are those in which design was treated as a step/story/task before diving head first into development.

This isn't to say that every last bit of an app must be designed before development starts. But you need to have an understanding about the activities that your users are trying to accomplish and plan for how your app should support them.