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Part: II Setup

Part II: Setup

Figure P-2. Setup


The Setup phase establishes the infrastructure needed to complete efficient and professional usability work. Certainly, you could hire some usability staff members and put them into project teams. But completing this phase creates the difference between a real institutionalization effort and unprofessional puttering. Without an effective strategy, training, methodology, facilities, tools, templates, and standards, a usability practitioner is unlikely to be successful and efficient.

In the Setup phase, you create a strategic plan that includes specifically sequenced steps, resources, and activities. The strategic plan helps you build an infrastructure to support ongoing usability work. This infrastructure includes training for everyone, which provides an understanding of usability as well as specific skills for the design team. You develop a user-centered design methodology, integrated with the general system development life cycle. A user-centered process makes the design of the user taskflows and experiences the first priority.

You also create a set of reusable questionnaires and templates, decide what facilities and equipment you need, and develop interface design standards. The Setup phase is about building the infrastructure so that ongoing user-centered design can be completed in an efficient, repeatable, and professional manner.

Quite a few components and interactions are included in the Setup phase. The methodology must work with internal processes, and the standards must work with the technology and the business objectives. With all these complex elements to address, you can't expect everything to work out smoothly the first time. That's why the showcase project is strongly recommended—to work out the kinks in the process and prove that it all works.



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