Agile programming is big now, and I know several programmers who subscribe to it. But how does usability and user experience design fit in an agile world? Many usability experts couldn’t tell you because they’re still trying to figure it out themselves. I’ve long been arguing that we need to stop and figure out what the user really wants and design the user experience first–then hand it over to the programmers to build. Does that work with Agile programming? Why wouldn’t it? I’ve won part of that argument in our company. They let me design the user experience, but there’s no time for user research, user personas, or usability testing of the interface before I have to hand it over. They’re in such a rush to meet the deadlines set by the “board”.
But, thanks to a thread I was following on CUACentral (a social networking site hosted by Human Factors International for their Certified Usability Analysts), I ran across this gem from Alan Cooper, one of the leaders in Interaction Design and the author of The Inmates are Running the Asylum. It’s his keynote speech, complete with all his notes, that he gave at Agile 2008.