Should User Interface (UI) Be a Part of “Requirements”?

Just a quick post to address a question that seems to come up quite frequently.

Should “User Interface” (UI)  be a part of requirements? Do UI specs constitute requirements?

Here is my quick answer to this question…
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Personas are Great – For Wasting Time!

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while. Recently, I saw a couple of blog posts on this topic (here and here) from bloggers I respect a lot. This spurred me to finally get around to writing this post.

This post is about using “personas” as a part of software requirements process. It’s not about marketing, sales or other activities.

At most companies, personnel with the job title of “product managers” or “business analysts” write Requirements Documents. These documents are then used by engineering teams to build and test the software.

There’s a school of thought that says that Personas are a very useful concept as a part of gathering and documenting requirements.

Having been a part of a few teams that tried to use personas in their requirements process – I consider personas mostly a waste of time. Here’s why…
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Why I Switched From Tweetdeck to Seesmic – And the Lessons for Product Managers

An hour ago, I did something without much conscious thought at all. I uninstalled the Twitter client I used to like (Tweetdeck), and installed a new one (Seesmic). And there I went, merrily tweeting.

Then, I caught myself and started thinking why I did that. The more I thought, the more I realized that there are a few valuable lessons in it for all of us who are involved in building software or products in general.

Here is my story, followed by the lessons…
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Product Management – SaaS vs Traditional Software

Mark Kromer at TechProdo blog recently wrote a nice blog post titled SaaS Product Management: Is there a difference?

In his post Mark poses the interesting question (applicable to a lot of product managers):

I was wondering what differences I would find in my role as a product manager if the products that I was managing moved to the software-as-a-service model…

As our company makes a popular SaaS tool for product management teams, we have good first-hand experience in this – and I’d like to share my thoughts here.

My short answer to Mark’s question is… [Read more…]

User-Friendly Error Messages – A Good Example

One of my pet peeves with most software is the cryptic, unfriendly error messages thrown up by so many of them.

At Accompa, we try to make error messages in our own software as friendly and useful as possible. I think we still have a long way to go, but we work hard at it.

I just saw the following error message from – the URL shortening service used on sites like Twitter. On most websites, this is usually a cryptic “404 Error” message. See how has made it so friendly and fun! 🙂
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