Interfaces have always been areas of peril in software development. Caroline Jarrett challenges teams to include interfaces with people in their notions of where development begins and ends, calling for user research, investigation, and tracking of the people and paper parts of processes as well as the computer ones. If you deliver software that has to be used by real people, Caroline will help you distinguish between software that is “deployed” and actually “delivered.”
Caroline offers three perspectives on the people involved with your software: people who help delivery to happen, people who use things that we deliver, and people in their rich variety. Caroline begins by reflecting on her own experience developing and delivering computer systems for shops in her first job after graduation. In those days before PCs and the Internet, delivery was difficult and testing was hard. People who may have worked in development early in their careers and are now senior managers may find it harder to adapt to today’s concepts of rapid build and delivery cycles.
Caroline’s career route led her into a fascination with forms—to be exact with the challenge of making forms that are easy for people to fill in. Drawing on this experience, she explores some of the ways that people are different from computers and suggests a definition of “done” that is based on whether people can use what we deliver for something that they want to do. Caroline concludes with a description of the rich variety of people and discusses how designing for variety helps everyone.
Caroline Jarrett is a forms specialist. She helps organizations make their forms easier to fill in and cut the costs of business processes that include forms. Caroline has been a project manager in recovery since 1994.
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