Giorgio Brajnik - Agile usage-centred software development

Despite technological advances seen in the past decades, several best practices for developing usable user interfaces are still too seldom being applied. Yet, the user interface of a software system is often its most complex and volatile component, where most of the problems in the end converge.

While agile approaches aim at delivering often high quality batches of the system, they also run the risk of overseeing problems with the design of the user interface. To many people, the user interface is just a thin layer of coat covering the underlying system. But this is not true in the majority of cases: users will rebel against such user interfaces, leading to low productivity, low acceptance, too many errors, refusal to learn to use new features, boycott of the system, etc.

In this talk we will see how agile approaches that strive to make the software development process controllable can be coupled to usage-centred development practices so that usable software can be delivered in time and with the expected quality.

Giorgio Brajnik is Associate Professor at the University of Udine, Italy, where he teaches usage-centred development of web sites and object oriented programming. Recently he cofounded Interaction Design Solutions, a spinoff company specialized in software quality and automated testing methods; it helps software companies to produce better software.
Giorgio is part of the International SKA development team and is visiting South Africa for the annual SKA Engineering Meeting.