Design Implementation

4 Apr 2005 - 2:19pm
9 years ago
4 replies
378 reads
Chris Nagele
2005

For the last few years I have been constantly working to create an
application development team that works well with interaction designers. I
would like to hear some advice from the group about this topic.

I know that many times interaction design can get distorted once developers
get their hands on the work. My goal is to create a development process and
team to improve the follow through of design concepts once they go to
implementation. So far my main focus has been finding the right people. In
terms of process I aimed to hire developers who understand that the design
comes before any technical development. So far I think I have done a lot to
improve the transition, but I wanted to hear from other people.

What kind of problems have people faced when handing off work to developers?
What qualities do you look for when working with a developer or development
team?

Any help is appreciated. Thanks!

--
Chris Nagele
Principal, Wildbit
http://wildbit.com/

Comments

4 Apr 2005 - 11:19am
Chris Nagele
2005

For the last few years I have been constantly working to create an
application development team that works well with interaction designers. I
would like to hear some advice from the group about this topic.

I know that many times interaction design can get distorted once developers
get their hands on the work. My goal is to create a development process and
team to improve the follow through of design concepts once they go to
implementation. So far my main focus has been finding the right people. In
terms of process I aimed to hire developers who understand that the design
comes before any technical development. So far I think I have done a lot to
improve the transition, but I wanted to hear from other people.

What kind of problems have people faced when handing off work to developers?
What qualities do you look for when working with a developer or team?

Any help is appreciated. Thanks!

--
Chris Nagele
Principal, Wildbit
ph: (215) 203-0488
fx: (267) 200-0835
http://wildbit.com/

6 Apr 2005 - 9:41am
Kyle Pero
2005

Quoting Chris Nagele <cn at wildbit.com>:
> I know that many times interaction design can get distorted once developers
> get their hands on the work...
> What kind of problems have people faced when handing off work to developers?
> What qualities do you look for when working with a developer or development
> team?

Hey Chris,
If anything I think it's the fault of the interaction designer if the developer
strays from the design. I've noticed that incomplete information is a big
reason for what usually sends a developer down a path that's totally different
than the one designed.

In my experience, a developer is not going to ask what they should do if it's
not written out in the specs given to them (i.e. Developer scratching
head..."hmmm, Did they want this to open a new window?") -- they are just going
to code what they think is right (or worse, easiest). Ideally, I would prefer a
developer ask me questions, but I think it says something about my work if they
have a lot of questions that should've been documented. Often times not enough
is spelled out in our wireframes or other documentation that we hand off to the
developers. Now, this gets into the discussion of how much annotation is too
much... I honestly believe that it depends on the people you are working with
and how they use your deliverables. If your flow diagram and/or wireframes are
the only thing a developer is working from then I'd hope everything you'd want
implemented is annotated.

It's also important for us to have informal check-ins with developers. We
shouldn't be seeing their work for the first time when they are finished. This
helps keep the design on track as well.

Cheers,
Kyle

--
Kyle Pero
Information Architect/Usability Analyst
http://www.usableinterface.com
267-241-4786

7 Apr 2005 - 11:06am
Chris Nagele
2005

Thanks for the feedback. I definitely agree it is up to the management and
interaction designer to properly guide the development process. At the same
time it is important for the developers to recommend technology or methods
that can help system design, such as automated processes or integration
techniques.

Thanks again for the advice!

-Chris

--
Chris Nagele
Principal, Wildbit
ph: (215) 203-0488
fx: (267) 200-0835
http://wildbit.com

-----Original Message-----
From: Kyle Pero [mailto:kylepero at usableinterface.com]
Sent: Wednesday, April 06, 2005 10:41 AM
To: cn at wildbit.com
Cc: discuss at ixdg.org
Subject: Re: [ID Discuss] Design Implementation

Quoting Chris Nagele <cn at wildbit.com>:
> I know that many times interaction design can get distorted once
developers
> get their hands on the work...
> What kind of problems have people faced when handing off work to
developers?
> What qualities do you look for when working with a developer or
development
> team?

Hey Chris,
If anything I think it's the fault of the interaction designer if the
developer
strays from the design. I've noticed that incomplete information is a big
reason for what usually sends a developer down a path that's totally
different
than the one designed.

In my experience, a developer is not going to ask what they should do if
it's
not written out in the specs given to them (i.e. Developer scratching
head..."hmmm, Did they want this to open a new window?") -- they are just
going
to code what they think is right (or worse, easiest). Ideally, I would
prefer a
developer ask me questions, but I think it says something about my work if
they
have a lot of questions that should've been documented. Often times not
enough
is spelled out in our wireframes or other documentation that we hand off to
the
developers. Now, this gets into the discussion of how much annotation is too
much... I honestly believe that it depends on the people you are working
with
and how they use your deliverables. If your flow diagram and/or wireframes
are
the only thing a developer is working from then I'd hope everything you'd
want
implemented is annotated.

It's also important for us to have informal check-ins with developers. We
shouldn't be seeing their work for the first time when they are finished.
This
helps keep the design on track as well.

Cheers,
Kyle

--
Kyle Pero
Information Architect/Usability Analyst
http://www.usableinterface.com
267-241-4786

7 Apr 2005 - 1:02pm
Todd Warfel
2003

This is where a good process comes into play. And I don't mean
something that has to be as strict as Six Sigma, but rather a truly
flexible process with a solid core.

One of the things we try and do regularly is to introduce the
developers to the project concepts early on so they have an idea of
what's coming. Additionally, we try and get flows for major components
early on so they can start prototyping the core functions. The
designers and developers are kept engaged throughout the project
process.

Additionally, our wireframes are pretty heavily noted (on the
wireframes, not externally). We use these as a build guide so that
there is as little back and forth as possible following the handoff.

A great example is the recent Bankrate.com redesign we did
(http://bankrate.com), which is in beta right now. You can see it by
accessing the link at the top of the page labeled "New." The final
implementation was very, very close to the wireframes, visual comps,
and solid HTML/CSS templates we handed off to them.

So, it's entirely possible to have the final implementation match the
submitted design.

Cheers!

Todd R. Warfel
Email/AIM: twarfel at mac.com
Blog: http://toddwarfel.com

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