Rhetorical Grounding and an Agile Attitude: Complex Systems, Multi- Genre Testing, and Service Learning in UX

Cunningham, Laura; Kirkscey, Russell; Reynolds-Dyk, Ashlynn; Small, Nancy; Tran, Charity; Tucker, Virginia
August 2015
Journal of Usability Studies;Aug2015, Vol. 10 Issue 4, p182
Academic Journal
This article describes a graduate-level service learning usability project and illustrates the practical tensions generated by increasing complexity in technology design. Although a foundational body of usability research prescribes standards for high-quality test design, such guidelines may not be applicable or practical in a particular context. Usability students and professionals benefit from allowing themselves the space for adaptation in order to conduct rigorous testing and meet client needs. An agile attitude-theory based but not theory bound-emphasizes user-centeredness, functionality, customer collaboration, and flexibility. Such an attitude emerges from basic principles of rhetorical theory, such as timing (kairos), user-centeredness (audience), genre, and rhetorical context. Bridging industry and academia, service-learning projects provide a compelling opportunity to experience the tensions and decision making required at the nexus of theory and practice.


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