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.
Collaboration between designers and developers is always great topic to write about. I believe that for the first time that kind of collaboration is possible to full extent and it is possible today. Key element for enabling this is XAML – eXtensible Application Markup Language aka Holy Grail of designer – developer collaboration.
A common view of vision is that it's something handed down by a leader to the troops. When a redesign goes awry, the troops complain, 'There was no vision.' But the problem goes deeper than either scenario; the problem is that there was no shared vision.
This is the recording of the presentation from the Catalyze Community monthly webcast featuring Charlie Kreitzberg on December 13, 2007. Charlie spoke on "Web 2 and You - How Web 2.0 Will Catapult Business Analysts and Usability Professionals into Center Stage" which examined his models for understanding Web 2.0 and explored the vast opportunities for professionals who define and design new software and websites.
Numerous surveys across a diverse range of IT projects have identified that the lack of support from senior management (project sponsorship) is one of the biggest causes of project failure. This briefing explores the need for a project sponsor, the role they need to play, and how to choose one.
A rather stressful part of optimizing some sites can be working with a web developer who doesn't understand the importance of search engine friendly design. Sometimes these developers can be frustrating or keep you from getting your work done right. This article contains a number of thing to keep in mind and to avoid when working in these situations.
The debate within the Web community over the optimal means by which to organize information often pits formalized classifications against distributed collaborative tagging systems. A number of questions remain unanswered, however, regarding the nature of collaborative tagging systems including whether coherent categorization schemes can emerge from unsupervised tagging by users. This paper uses data from the social bookmarking site del.icio.us to examine the dynamics of collaborative tagging systems. In particular, we examine whether the distribution of the frequency of use of tags for 'popular' sites with a long history (many tags and many users) can be described by a power law distribution, often characteristic of what are considered complex systems. We produce a generative model of collaborative tagging in order to understand the basic dynamics behind tagging, including how a power law distribution of tags could arise. We empirically examine the tagging history of sites in order to determine how this distribution arises over time and to determine the patterns prior to a stable distribution. Lastly, by focusing on the high-frequency tags of a site where the distribution of tags is a stabilized power law, we show how tag co-occurrence networks for a sample domain of tags can be used to analyze the meaning of particular tags given their relationship to other tags.
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.
WebFeat is a web development effort by about 40 students, faculty and staff in the College of Engineering at the University of Washington. In this design environment, the challenges of building community among the members of the design team are substantial. We devised a suite of tools and processes designed to foster a sense of community and participation in the development process, as well as to lay the groundwork for participatory maintenance of the site in the future.
Formal corporate models that standardize collaborative processes into rigid templates and flow charts can actually become anti-collaborative and isolate team members from each other. This divisionary effect is particularly problematic for World Wide Web hypertexts, which often require on-going, dynamic collaborations between professionals with diverse specializations. In this article, we examine collaborative processes through theory and two Web project team interactions: one that reflects a failed formal process model, and one that represents a more successful dialogic model. Because dialogic models are non-formal and inherently adaptable, they are thus stronger process models for collaboration, particularly for Web design projects.
One lesson we've learned over the past several years here at Cooper is that on the vast majority of our projects, intimate client collaboration is a critical ingredient for success. This is a lesson that we have sometimes learned the hard way; collaboration can be messy, unpredictable and has often forced us to compromise what we thought was a supremely clear and elegant vision.
Who decides what's best for a website? Highly skilled professionals who work with the site's users and serve as their advocates? Or schmucks with money? Most often, it's the latter. That's why a web designer's first job is to educate the people who hold the purse strings.
Building an effective website is often seen exclusively as the job of the web team, and viewed as a design or technical issue. However, having worked with many different organisations, we would argue that often what stops them improving their website is the organisation itself. Developing an effective website often requires organisational change: it requires a culture where people at all levels in the organisation adopt behaviours that make a ‘good user experience’ an important goal. If the organisation is not focused on providing a good user experience, then the web team will be unable to build an effective website.
Four of your fellow development team members, all trying to do their specific jobs to the best of their abilities, have the power to sink your best effort at interaction design. As an interaction designer, it is your job to see they don't do so. (If you are not an interaction designer, read on anyway; you may be surprised to learn that you may be part of the problem.)
When a screenwriter can summarize a story in one sentence, he has a compass that can guide him throughout the writing process. Cindy Chastain chronicles how we can translate this approach to help us remember the quality and value of the experience we intend to deliver.
Information architecture (IA) means so much to our projects, from setting requirements to establishing the baseline layout for our design and development teams. But what does it mean to your clients? Do they see the value in IA? What happens when they change their minds? Can IA help manage the change control process? More than ever, we must ensure that our clients find value in and embrace IA—and it’s is our job to educate them. If we want our customers to embrace IA, we must help them understand why we need it.
When used at critical points in the design process, group sessions build strong, respectful relationships. Since clients directly experience the design work, you don't need to sell clients on an idea--they were with you the whole time.
Nobody would deny that usability guidelines, applied in context by a usability professional, are extremely valuable in guiding a website evaluation. The problem occurs when non-professionals apply these guidelines out of context. This can result in an unimaginative site that looks bland and homogenous. To design usable sites that truly engage customers we need to replace simple guidelines with a customer-centred design process.