A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.

Malone, Erin

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AIGA Experience Design - Past, Present and Future

At the end of April 2002, the AIGA Experience Design SIG will hold its first joint Forum as part of CHI 2002. Intended to be the first of several collaborative ventures to bring the Experience Design communities of practice together, the success of the forum marks a milestone in the life of the AIGA ED group.

Malone, Erin. Boxes and Arrows (2002). Design>Web Design>User Centered Design


Coloring Outside the Lines

Once upon a time, we were curious and everything we encountered was new. We were excited about discovering new things and the world offered unlimited possibilities. Then we went to school and were taught to color inside the lines, that everything had its place and the world was ordered.

Malone, Erin. Boxes and Arrows (2003). Articles>Web Design>Instructional Design>Metadata


Coming of Age

It seems like a lifetime ago when I asked my boss if I could adopt the title 'Information Architect.' After all, according to Richard Saul Wurman's definition, that is what I was. He laughed at me and said Information Architect isn’t a title, or a role. It’s not a job. That conversation took place only four years ago.

Malone, Erin. Boxes and Arrows (2002). Careers>Information Design


Creative Brief   (Word)

A template to provide a brief description of the project. It should outline the objectives, audience, and assumptions for the project and details the creative concept the team intends to use moving forward. This document should accompany the materials for the Conceptual Design Review. Information should be filled in to give an overview to project reviewers who may not be intimately involved in the project. Differs from project overview in that this is specific background information related to design constraints, concerns and other information directly relating to the solution presented for review. The Creative Brief can also be used to inform outside firms about a project when brought in for consulting.

Malone, Erin. AIfIA (2003). Resources>Project Management>Workflow


Design Review Checksheets   (PDF)

Useful checksheets with questions for consideration by the design team and reviewers when reviewing work at different stages of the process. There is a checksheet for Concept review, UI/interaction design review and Visual design review. Has space indicated for approvals and signature sign off by selected approvers. These sheets are great for tracking the progress and making sure key people approve and sign off on each step.

Malone, Erin. AIfIA (2003). Resources>Project Management>Workflow


Design Review Process   (Word)

A template to capture the dates in the Design Review Process and key milestones and stakeholders.

Malone, Erin. AIfIA (2003). Resources>Project Management>Workflow


Design Scope   (Word)

The Design Scope template should outline the general aims and goals of the project design and lists the major deliverables and milestones. To be completed by the experience design team lead.

Malone, Erin. AIfIA (2003). Resources>Project Management>Workflow


DUX—Five Lessons Learned

Normally I would write a traditional conference overview to inform people about the recent Designing for User Experiences conference (DUX) held in San Francisco, June 6-8. Instead, I would like to impart a few of the impressions I came away with and recommend that everyone go to the AIGA Case Study Archive to read the papers that were accepted.

Malone, Erin. Boxes and Arrows (2003). Articles>Information Design>User Interface


Five Steps to Building Social Experiences

Nowadays everyone wants social in their sites and applications. It’s become a basic requirement in consumer web software and is slowly infiltrating the enterprise as well. So what’s a designer to do when confronted with the requirements to “add social”? Designing social interfaces is more than just slapping on Twitter-like or Facebook-like features onto your site. Not all features are created equal and sometimes a little bit can go a long way. It’s important to consider your audience, your product—what your users will be rallying around and why they would want to become engaged with it and each other, and that you can approach this in a systematic way, a little bit at a time.

Malone, Erin. Boxes and Arrows (2009). Articles>Web Design>Social Networking>User Experience


Foreseeing the Future: The Legacy of Vannevar Bush

Fifty years before web, 30 years before the personal computer, Vannevar Bush envisioned a new machine to make sense of the growing mountains of information, creating the notions of 'hypertext' and the modern link.

Malone, Erin. Boxes and Arrows (2002). Articles>Information Design>Hypertext


Implementing a Pattern Library in the Real World: A Yahoo! Case Study

The Yahoo! platform design team shares their process for defining and designing a pattern and standards library, the process for defining the requirements of the repository and the process for defining the lifecycle of a pattern.

Malone, Erin, Matt Leacock and Chanel Wheeler. Boxes and Arrows (2005). Design>Web Design>Collaboration


Learning from the "Powers of Ten"

To most designers, the Eames name brings to mind rows and rows of molded plywood chairs and Herman Miller furniture of the 1950s. But the Eameses were more than just designers of furniture; they were masters of exploration and experimentation into the realm of experience.

Malone, Erin. Boxes and Arrows (2002). Humor>Web Design>Information Design


Mission Statements: Why You Might Want One

I recently started a new job. The group I manage is new and all the people on my team have recently been transferred into this group. Additionally, each person has spent a lot of time in the recent past working on individual, solitary projects, and has not regularly been part of a collaborative team.

Malone, Erin. Boxes and Arrows (2004). Careers>Project Management>Writing


Modeling the Creative Organization

A few months ago, on the cusp of another reorganization, my boss challenged me to present ideas about how my group should be organized. The challenge: 'If you could organize the group in whatever way you wanted, what would you recommend doing?' Everyone who has ever been a manager longs to hear those words.

Malone, Erin. Boxes and Arrows (2003). Careers>Management


Planning your Future

A few years ago, a manager of mine gave me the assignment to work on a five-year career plan. I had never created a career plan before (not even to plot out goals for the coming year), so I was completely unprepared for how and why I should do this.

Malone, Erin. Boxes and Arrows (2004). Careers>Management>Planning


Process Maps   (PDF)

A poster-sized map showing the steps and deliverables through the UI/IA/UX project lifecycle. Maps various activities and deliverables against project roles and indicates major milestones. Excellent resource for educating clients (internal and external) about 'the process' and what to expect at each phase of the cycle. Two different 'takes' on the process are available for downloading.

Malone, Erin. AIfIA (2003). Design>Presentations>Posters>Workflow


Project Definition and Scope   (Word)

A template for providing historical information, available industry research, initial scope, a rough schedule, and implementation plans for the proposed project. It should outline business objectives of the project. It is to be completed by the project requestor – usually a business stakeholder.

Malone, Erin. AIfIA (2003). Resources>Web Design>Project Management>Workflow


Project Overview   (Word)

A template to be completed by the experience design team lead in preparation of or as an attached document to Product Requirements documents. Information should be filled in to give an overview to project team who may be new to the project.

Malone, Erin. AIfIA (2003). Resources>Project Management>Workflow


So You Think You Want to be a Manager

Every designer faces a choice at some point in their career -- to manage or not to manage. Erin Malone helps you walk through the questions you need to make that choice.

Malone, Erin. Boxes and Arrows (2007). Careers>Management>Design


The Power of Process, The Perils of Process

Traditionally, information architects and designers (UI, visual, ID) are creatures of process. We generally work in prescribed ways—discover, design, validate, repeat. We sketch first, then create rough flows and then finetuned detailed wireframes and mocks. This usually works well, once accepted, and most companies—whether in-house teams or consultancies—work along similar lines. In my experience, I have found that creating and documenting process has been a good exercise to help institutionalize ways of working, to help educate new team members as well as to unveil the mysteries of what we do for executives, product folks, and development teams.

Malone, Erin. Boxes and Arrows (2003). Articles>Information Design>Workflow


The Tool Makes the (Wo)Man

With all the bickering over the 'right' tools, we lose sight in these discussions of the fact that we already have the perfect tool: our brains. The knowledge, expertise and skills to solve problems are right between our ears.

Malone, Erin. Boxes and Arrows (2002). Design>Web Design

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