The creation of digital products today in Java

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The creation of digital products today
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Digital products come into this world subject to the push and pull of two, often opposing, forces developers and marketers. While marketers are adept at understanding and quantifying a marketplace opportunity, and at introducing and positioning a product within that market, their input into the product design process is often limited to lists of requirements. These requirements often have little to do with what users actually need or desire and have more to do with chasing the competition, managing IT resources with to-do lists, and making guesses based on market surveys what people say they ll buy. (Contrary to what you might suspect, few users are able to clearly articulate their needs. When asked direct questions about the products they use, most tend to focus on low-level tasks or workarounds to product flaws.) Unfortunately, reducing an interactive product to a list of hundreds of features doesn t lend itself to the kind of graceful orchestration that is required to make complex technology useful. Adding easy to use to the list of requirements does nothing to improve the situation.
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1: Goal-Directed Design
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Developers, on the other hand, often have no shortage of input into the product s final form and behavior. Because they are in charge of construction, they decide exactly what gets built. And they, too, have a different set of imperatives than the product s eventual users. Good developers are focused on solving challenging technical problems, following good engineering practices, and meeting deadlines. They are often given incomplete, confusing, and sometimes contradictory instructions and are forced to make significant decisions about the user experience with little time or background. Thus, the people who are most often responsible for the creation of our digital products rarely take into account the users goals, needs, or motivations, and at the same time tend to be highly reactive to market trends and technical constraints. This can t help but result in products that lack a coherent user experience. We ll soon see why goals are so important in addressing this issue. The results of poor product vision are, unfortunately, digital products that irritate, reduce productivity, and fail to meet user needs. Figure 1-1 shows the evolution of the development process and where, if at all, design has historically fit in. Most of digital product development is stuck in the first, second, or third step of this evolution, where design either plays no real role or it becomes a surface-level patch on shoddy interactions lipstick on the pig, as one of our clients once referred to it. The design process, as we will soon discuss, should precede coding and testing to ensure that products truly meet the needs of users. In the dozen years since the publication of the first edition of this book, software and interactive products have certainly improved. Many companies have begun to focus on serving the needs of people with their products, and are spending the time and money to do upfront design. Many more companies are still failing to do this, and as they maintain their focus on technology and marketing data, they continue to create the kind of digital products we ve all grown to despise. Here are a few symptoms of this affliction.
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Digital products are rude
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Digital products often blame users for making mistakes that are not their fault, or should not be. Error messages like the one in Figure 1-2 pop up like weeds announcing that the user has failed yet again. These messages also demand that the user acknowledge his failure by agreeing: OK.
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Part I: Understanding Goal-Directed Design
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Figure 1-1 The evolution of the software development process. The first diagram depicts the early days of the software industry when smart programmers dreamed up products, and then built and tested them. Inevitably, professional managers were brought in to help facilitate the process by translating market opportunities into product requirements. As depicted in the third diagram, the industry matured, testing became a discipline in its own right, and with the popularization of the graphical user interface (GUI), graphic designers were brought in to create icons and other visual elements. The final diagram shows the Goal-Directed approach to software development where decisions about a product s capabilities, form, and behavior are made before the expensive and challenging construction phase.