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80/20 Practitioners Make Better Communicators

Approaches that are either too general or too specific can easily overwhelm practitioners—and derail budgets. Fresh from recent experiences with two large-scale redesigns, Katie Kovalcin suggests that flexibility and open communication can transform all team members into what she calls “80/20 practitioners,” creating a more effective balance of time and resources.

Kovalcin, Katie. List Apart, A (2015). Articles>Project Management>Web Design>Collaboration


Are We There Yet?

It's true: even simple projects get messy. Christina Wodtke comes clean on Swiss Army knives, the writing on the wall, and the untidy glory of the Boxes and Arrows redesign contest.

Wodtke, Christina. Boxes and Arrows (2006). Articles>Web Design>Project Management>Case Studies


Big Architect, Little Architect

First came the primordial soup. Thousands of relatively simple single-celled web sites appeared on the scene, and each one was quickly claimed by a multi-functional organism called a "webmaster." A symbiotic relationship quickly became apparent. Webmaster fed web site. Web site got bigger and more important. So did the role of the webmaster. Life was good. Then, bad things started to happen. The size and complexity and importance of the web sites began to spiral out of control. Mutations started cropping up. Strange new organisms with names like interaction designer, usability engineer, customer experience analyst, and information architect began competing with the webmaster and each other for responsibilities and rewards. Equilibrium had been punctuated and we entered the current era of rapid speciation and specialization.

Morville, Peter. Argus Center (2000). Articles>Web Design>Interaction Design>Project Management


The Content Conundrum

There’s often an unsettling discrepancy between the stakeholder approved wireframes and visual comps and the actual product in production. What you see in those environments is sometimes a far cry from those polished wireframes and those shiny, pixel-perfect visualizations that were filled with placeholder content (such as lorem ipsum text, dummy copy, and image blocks). What you’re seeing in production environments now holds the real content. The imagery doesn’t support the interactions, is meaningless, useless, or worse, contradictory to the design intent. The copy, headers, and labels are unclear, too long, too short, or simply irrelevant. What happened?

Detzi, Christopher. Boxes and Arrows (2009). Articles>Web Design>Project Management


The Core Model: Designing Inside Out for Better Results

If you’ve worked on a website design with a large team or client, chances are good you’ve spent some time debating (arguing?) with each other about what the homepage should look like, or which department gets to be in the top-level navigation—perhaps forgetting that many of the site’s visitors might never even see the homepage if they land there via search.

Aalen, Ida. List Apart, A (2015). Articles>Web Design>Project Management>Collaboration


An Eight-Step Implementation Model

The inaccessibility of web content can have a significant impact on the lives of individuals with disabilities. Many people without disabilities are ignorant of the importance of the issue to those who are directly affected. They are also often ignorant of the tremendous benefit that accessible web content can be. Accessible web sites offer independence to individuals with disabilities that would otherwise not have it.

WebAIM (2006). Articles>Web Design>Accessibility>Project Management


Failing Fast: Getting Projects Out of the Lab

“Failing fast” means getting putting applications out in the wild as soon as possible to learn whether they will succeed. This gives you access to early user feedback to quickly weed out ideas and methods that don’t work. Failing fast is a good thing—or, at least, it's preferable to failing slowly and spending too much time, effort and money developing a product that should have been put to rest earlier. Money and time you save by cutting off unsuccessful projects quickly will mean you have more money and time for the successful ones. The concept of failing fast can help businesspeople and stakeholders reduce the riskiness of launching products by letting real users and the marketplace dictate their product choices.

Hillerson, Tony, Alan Lewis, Scott Green, Ryan Stewart and Randy Rieland. UX Magazine (2009). Articles>Web Design>Project Management>Agile


Five Questions to Ask Your Web Development Team

As a client or manager responsible for a web development project you don't need to know anything about how a standards based web site is created. However you do need to know that your project is addressing these five important issues.

Allsopp, John. Western Civilization (2005). Articles>Web Design>Project Management>Standards


Following A Web Design Process

Almost every Web designer can attest that much of their work is repetitive. We find ourselves completing the same tasks, even if slightly modified, over and over for every Web project. Following a detailed website design and development process can speed up your work and help your client understand your role in the project. This article tries to show how developing a process for Web design can organize a developer’s thoughts, speed up a project’s timeline and prepare a freelance business for growth. First of all, what exactly is a ‘process’? A Web development process is a documented outline of the steps needed to be taken from start to finish in order to complete a typical Web design project. It divides and categorizes the work and then breaks these high-level sections into tasks and resources that can be used as a road map for each project.

Reimer, Luke. Smashing (2011). Articles>Web Design>Project Management


Four Web Project Problems Content Strategy Can Solve

Here’s the cool thing about content strategy. It doesn’t just tell you what content should go on your site, but it answers a whole bunch of other important questions.

Casey, Meghan. Johnny (2010). Articles>Web Design>Content Strategy>Project Management


Gantt to Glory: Evolving from Project Management to Successful Web Operations

Is the sheer possession of a PMP intended to be the Holy Grail of successful web projects, known to fail at a startling rate, or simply a way to divorce oneself from whatever outcome may result from the web project?

Podnar, Kristina. Content Wrangler, The (2008). Articles>Web Design>Project Management>Planning


Getting Real About Agile Design

Agile is here to stay. The economic difficulties of the past months have finally put waterfall out of its misery; now more than ever, long requirements phases and vaporous up-front documentation aren’t acceptable. Software must be visible and valuable from the start. For many designers, Agile is already a fact of life (and for those less accustomed, some recommended reading follows at the foot of this article). We are reaching the point where we must either acclimatize or risk being bypassed. The good news is that Agile does allow us to still do the things we hold dear—research, develop a vision, and test and improve our designs—we just need new techniques. Now is the time to get real, and prove design can adapt, if we want to stay relevant in these increasingly unreal times.

Bowles, Cennydd. List Apart, A (2008). Articles>Web Design>Agile>Project Management


Good Web Designers Create High ROI

Thanks to the Internet, businesses no longer need to outspend their competitors to outperform them on the marketing front. Small companies can go toe-to-toe with established, deep-pocketed enterprises, virtually overnight. But how? By leveraging the value a well-versed website designer brings to the table.

Sloboda, Rick. Webcopyplus (2010). Articles>Web Design>Project Management>ROI


How to Commission an Accessible Website

Web accessibility is a label which few web designers, let alone their clients, fully understand. Many companies are unintentionally misleading customers by claiming to design accessible websites due to the lack of technical skills and understanding of the accessibility guidelines (WCAG 2.0).

Raspberry Frog (2008). Articles>Web Design>Accessibility>Project Management


How to Present a Business Case for Web Site Investments

How can you convince others that Web investments are a wise decision in a slow economy?

Costello, Rick. STC Chicago (2003). Articles>Web Design>Project Management>Business Case


How to Scope an Intranet Release

When developing intranet releases, intranet teams often find themselves very constrained by both time and resources. The challenge then becomes delivering sufficient content and capabilities to meet business and user expectations, within the project constraints. This briefing introduces a simple approach to scoping a release that takes all of these factors into account.

Robertson, James. Step Two (2004). Articles>Web Design>Intranets>Project Management


Laws of Web Site Management and Digital Branding

We urgently need a quick crash course on web site management; otherwise, connecting with potential customers will become a very tough challenge. Lucky are those who have a unique domain name without the additional baggage of extraneous language, numbers, dashes or slashes. Studies have shown that 90 percent of business names are problematic. These problems are serious issues for achieving higher visibility.

Javed, Naseem. Communication World Bulletin (2004). Articles>Web Design>Project Management>Marketing


Planning a Web Site Redesign in Six Steps   (PDF)

True Web site redesigns focus on much more than visuals. Brink and Regenold's redesign process will help technical communicators rethink a site from the ground up.

Brink, Marcia and Michele Regenold. Intercom (2004). Articles>Web Design>Redesign>Project Management


Setting Priorities

Nearly every company I’ve worked with since becoming a web professional six years ago has lacked an efficient way to decide which things to do first. Put 10 people into a room for an hour, and they’ll surely come up with a wish list a mile long.

Fraser, Janice. Adaptive Path (2002). Articles>Web Design>Project Management>Collaboration


Stopping the Infighting About Digital Standards

Organizations that struggle with their digital presence often do so because they haven’t established proper governance. But good governance is worth pursuing: clear policies and processes can answer questions, empower teams, and enable web strategies to shine. In this excerpt from Chapter 5 of Managing Chaos, Lisa Welchman explains the importance of digital standards—what they are, why they matter for governance, and how to start documenting them for your stakeholders.

Welchman, Lisa. List Apart, A (2015). Articles>Project Management>Web Design>Standards


Twenty Signs You Don’t Want that Web Design Project

Most clients are good clients, and some clients are great clients. But some jobs are just never going to work out well. Herewith, a few indicators that a project may be headed to the toilet.

Zeldman, Jeffrey. Zeldman.com (2008). Articles>Web Design>Project Management>Planning


Use Cases Part II: Taming Scope

The use-case model can be a powerful tool for controlling scope throughout a project's life cycle. Because a simplified use-case model can be understood by all project participants, it can also serve as a framework for ongoing collaboration and a visual map of all agreed-upon functionality. Use it to plan, to negotiate, and to prevent scope creep.

Carr, Norm and Tim Meehan. List Apart, A (2005). Articles>Web Design>Project Management


Websites: Designed by Dogs, Managed by Cats

Websites are generally designed by dogs. There’s a lot of optimism. The dogs look at the website and think of it as an endless attic. No matter how much stuff you into it, there’s always room for more. The dogs approach each design step with a ‘have gigabytes, must fill’ enthusiasm. And then cats have to manage the website. The dogs let everyone publish and the cats are certainly not going to review all this stuff. The dogs created an architecture where everyone can find everything and now nobody can find anything. The cats shake their heads.

McGovern, Gerry. I Heart Tech Docs (2007). Articles>Web Design>Project Management


What's the Problem?

One of the biggest problems in creating and delivering a site is how to decide, specify, and communicate exactly what we’re building and why. Use cases can help answer these questions by providing a simple, fast means to decide and describe the purpose of your project. In this quick-reading article, Messieurs Carr and Meehan introduce use cases and their, uh, uses.

Carr, Norm and Tim Meehan. List Apart, A (2005). Articles>Web Design>Project Management


Workflow Orchestration for the Wary

Web developers are often expected to overcome any remaining reluctance to take charge of coordinating their own workflows. Fortunately for us, the methods for defining sensical workflow for projects have grown up and simplified. Which is good news. Because workflow matters.

Gardner, Lyza Danger. List Apart, A (2014). Articles>Web Design>Project Management>Collaboration



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