User Interface & Usability

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At UC Berkeley there has been an increasing awareness of the importance of business analysis (BA) and user experience (UX) in the software development lifecycle. In this article we will discuss the advantages of involving BA and UX practitioners in your development process, when and how to involve them, and the similarities and differences between the two professions.

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In an ideal world, all software projects would have an interaction designer or user experience (UX) specialist working with the team to ensure that the product is designed in a way that truly satisfies the needs of end-users. In a software project with separate business analyst and interaction designer roles, the work of these professional is complementary

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Smooth stakeholder participation is integral to the success of any project. Sometimes stakeholders hold information that is essential to thorough requirements discovery, so it is important that they be forthcoming. Other stakeholders must sign off on requirements as being final in order for a project to move forward, so it is important that they be decisive and willing to let go the discovery stage of a project.

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Although it may seem obvious that the User Interface (UI) directly impacts usability, and therefore satisfaction, Business Analysts often find themselves focusing on functional requirements to ensure end user satisfaction. Mainly, this is due to the non-functional requirements, like usability, being dictated by existing technology or process within the organization. However, research into mobile user interfaces is placing the focus back on the usability requirements as the main driver of user satisfaction.

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A lot of people think that coming up with solutions to business problems is the hardest part about being a business analyst – particularly when working with a client who knows more about the business than you ever will. Don’t believe it, after all you’ve already made considerable progress in understanding the problem – and your understanding is based on level-headed analysis rather than a potentially emotional interpretation by your client.

Now it’s time to look for solutions – to be creative and think outside the square. In this paper we’ll offer a few tips and techniques for getting the creative juices flowing. We’ll show you that anyone can be creative and that solutions can come from the most unexpected places – you don’t have to be a subject matter expert to come up with valid, workable solutions to business problems.

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In this article, I'll be discussing some other requirements gathering methods that complement use case modeling and should be used to ensure your requirements gathering goes swimmingly.

In particular, I'll be mentioning storyboards, wireframes and prototypes.
I'll also cover what level of quality and detail you should adopt when applying these techniques.

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U.S. News and World Report published their list of Best Careers for 2008 - and Usability/User Experience Professional is one of the listed professions.  This is a business analysis related discipline with many business analysts also playing the role of UI designer. "Usability specialists make sure that products, especially technical on...
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What Is A Functional Specification? Functional specifications (functional specs), in the end, are the blueprint for how you want a particular web project or application to look and work. It details what the finished product will do, how a user will interact with it, and what it will look like. By creating a blueprint of the product first, time an...
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A fundamental reality of application development is that the user interface is the system to the users. What users want is for developers to build applications that meet their needs and that are easy to use. Too many developers think that they are artistic geniuses – they do not bother to follow user interface design standards or invest the e...
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The author illustrates how to use UML Activity Diagrams to capture and communicate the details of user interface navigation and functionality, and explain three stereotypes: presentation, exception, and connector. Author: Ben Lieberman
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