Shaun Shue

BIS

Developing with remote workers across 10 time zones and a language barrier is challenging. What helps is a rule of storytelling: Show. Don’t tell.

I was managing development of a business information system with a massive legacy database, and having a hard time describing to my development team how navigation should flow. I had worked with the client at length to understand their workflows, and this was critical to usability.

The subtleties to a good user experience are better felt than described, and much as I love open source, using MS Office then OpenOffice is a good example. They aren’t so different in function, look or compatibility, but despite the latter being free, it’s never going to overtake the former.

When we were learning development lifecycles in undergrad, from Waterfall to Agile to Spiral to company-specific ones, my professor told an anecdote about the hybrid Disposable Prototype. He had churned out a quick example application, and his client wanted to close the contract and just pay for that. My professor was insistent on staying the course, and in the end, his client was even happier with the better refined, easier to use and faster final product.

In that vein, I churned out a dummy application in LiveCode (a good quick-app platform in itself). I put icons and links where they not only made sense, but where they meshed and felt right. It compiled to a standalone application that I sent off, and the finished system came back just right.