Exchange of Ideas: Agile/XP and User Experience

Wednesday 12th November 2008, 6:30 pm

Speakers: Chris Rourke, CEO of UserVision and Adrian Williamson

Venue: University of Edinburgh Informatics Forum, 10 Crichton Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9AB - map (click on Informatics Forum in the list of buildings).

This talk is free of charge. Refreshments available from 6:00 pm.


The first of an annual series of expert panels to exchange ideas by exploring recent approaches that aim to ensure better and more cost-effective systems development. Two leading Scottish practitioners, Chris Rourke, CEO of UserVision, and Adrian Williamson, each present a synopsis of the methods they use to achieve results. We then invite questions from the floor for each of them. This will contrast the two approaches, find their common roots, tease out the differences and give attendees a greater understanding of what methods to deploy and when.

The Agile Manifesto prioritises “Individuals and interactions over processes and tools; Working software over comprehensive documentation; Customer collaboration over contract negotiation; Responding to change over following a plan”. XP (eXtreme Programming) takes best practice in software engineering to extremes and values "Communication, Simplicity, Feedback, Courage and Respect", in order to achieves an Agile process that is responsive to customer needs while creating software of higher quality.

User Experience approaches draw on ISO standards 9241 (Usability) and 13407 (Human-centred design) , which refer to "the extent to which a product can be used by specified users to achieve specified goals with effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction in a specified context of use." and "the active involvement of users and a clear understanding of user and task requirements; an appropriate allocation of function between users and technology; the iteration of design solutions; multi-disciplinary design."

Some find a tension between these two approaches, others see synergy, and yet more see each appropriate at different points in the lifecycle. What do you think?.

About the speakers


Chris Rourke

Chris has over 17 years commercial experience in usability, accessibility, human factors consultancy and training. Chris has worked with a range of clients including Hewlett Packard, Dell Computers, NCR, Houses of Parliament, Emirates Airlines, IKEA and many other commercial and public sector clients in the UK and abroad. His particular user experience interests include web accessibility, the application of Rich Internet Applications such as AJAX and Flex, remote usability testing, eye tracking and persuasion architecture.

Chris is Founder and recent President of the Scottish Chapter of the Usability Professionals' Association and is a member of various professional organisations, including the British Computing Society Interaction Specialist Group (formerlry BHCIG), and the Computers and Human Interaction Group of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM-SIGCHI).

Chris holds a BSc. in Engineering Psychology from Tufts University and a MSc. in Ergonomics from the University of Michigan.

In his spare time Chris enjoys travel and sport, particularly ultimate Frisbee


Adrian Williamson

Adrian Williamson is a people and technology specialist who has worked extensively in engineering, academia and the software industry. He is a Fellow of the BCS, Vice-chair of the Specialist Groups Executive Committee, and sits on Member Services Board and BCS Council. He has published widely in Human Computer Interaction and Information Systems, and most recently specialised in Business Process Management (BPM), Customer Relationship Management and Usability. He has worked for ciboodle (nee Graham Technology) and most recently HBOS on BPM/SOA software and platform development, and retains a focus on innovation, process and enterprise software.