Putting the User Back into Architecture

In this ArCast Ron Jacobs talks to Simon Guest about putting the user back into the picture when building an architecture.  They discuss what happens when a user gets a new tool.  They put this down as Discovery > Learning > Mastering.  I like the analogy from project management where a team will Form > Storm > Norm > and finally Mourn.  So from my perspective Simon’s model of Discovery > Learning > Mastering has a step missing.  I think the last step with all software is Frustrating.  Once a user has mastered software they then become frustrated by its limitations, no matter how good the software is.  Dealing with frustration is difficult, all you can do is feed information about next releases (unless the client is extensible).

I have seen at close hand what IBM and Lotus have done over previous years since the release 4 days of Notes in the late 90s.  In all their previous releases they have jumped on the infrastructure model to market their software.  “hey this new release is xx% less CPU intensive”.  It is nice to see that with Hannover, the next release of Notes, and Sametime 7.5 we have heard virtually nothing about the back end servers.  We are however starting to see a steady stream of data about the client both from blogs and from ibm.com (Hannover, Sametime).  Mary Beth has told us about the personae they are utilising, and this can only be good news for us and our Lotus software users.  I’m excited about the extensible nature of both these clients as I hope this can be utilised to build a better user experience and avoid the frustration step in the process.

This focus on the end user is gaining supporters.  Look at these posts from Graham and Steve (Sametime, Hannover), both picking up on user experience and not worrying too much about the back end infrastructure.

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