Usability starts with the project team

I’m on a bit of a usability kick at the moment, and I am increasingly convinced that:

  • Usability is the key to ELN project success.
  • Usability almost always completely ignored, sometimes because project teams don’t realise it is important.
  • However it is more the case that the project management process incentivises teams to follow a process and build a system rather than focus on the users.

I was intrigued by this post on User Experience in Startups. If you replace “Startup” for project in the first couple of paragraphs this surely rings a bell.

Startups Project teams start up with a single idea: a solution they believe the world their company has never seen. And while no one can argue that they’re the source of much of the industry’s innovation, they’re almost all lacking in purpose.

Most people believe that User Experience is just about finding the best solution for your users — but it’s not. UX is about defining the problem that needs to be solved (the why), defining the types of people who need it to be solved (the who), and defining the way in which it should be solved to be relevant to those people (the how). Yet as a rule, startups projects are being built on the what.

She then goes on to explore the reasons why, and again if you replace the words…

The challenge lies in the lifeblood of startups projects: the venture capitalists budget holder. Most VCs budget holders put their money in whats — not whys or whos or hows.