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Understanding Artefacts for UX-SE Collaboration

This is a completed project.


Software is designed and developed by teams of people with diverse skills. In agile software development, there is an emphasis on close collaboration, of programmers with each other, and between programmers and customers. In all software designed for human use, however, user interaction design is critically important and done by specialists in that area. Much software depends critically on two aspects: the user interaction, and the software functionality. Typically business success depends on getting both right, and both aligned with the business goals. Most often, these two aspects are undertaken by two different kinds of people: user interaction designers, and software developers. Too often, they do not communicate effectively and can work toward different understandings of the problem space and the solution space. Yet especially in an Agile development context, they should both be collaborating in an ongoing way, with each other and with the business representatives.


We have been studying the practice of collaborations between user interaction designers and software developers in Agile projects, paying special attention to the artefacts they use and the roles they play. In a set of in-depth field studies and extensive analysis, we found the kinds of artefacts they used, the nature of the collaborative work, and the interactional identities formed by the people involved. In particular, we investigated the role of artefacts in this collaborations. Our findings have implications for the design of collaborative tools and environments, both in software development and potentially in other collaborative work. We hope this will serve as a basis for a new generation of design fundamentals for multi-touch tools to aid collaboration between designers and developers.




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