Writing Interaction Documentation for iOS

23 Aug 2011 - 9:48am
5 years ago
4 replies
2219 reads
Emmett Barton

I've completed the UI and UX design for an iPad app and now it's time to hand everything off for development and I was wondering if there were any best practices for documenting the interaction design for the developer. Our dev is in house, so I can just pop over and talk to him, but I think documentation would be best for workflow.  

If you've had experience documenting interaction design for iOS in the past, please share. 




24 Aug 2011 - 7:05pm
Jennifer Trich ...

Emmett, My first question for you is why would your documentation approach change just because it is for a mobile device?How do you share/document your designs with the development team today? I am not sure that you need a completely different approach.

Anyone else have thoughts? Jennifer Trich Kremer

25 Aug 2011 - 10:07am
Douglas Brashear

I only have a few minutes right now, but one of my first "lessons learned" when writing functional specifications for mobile projects (back when I was doing that) was not to take anything for granted. In many of our past web or application design work, I bet, there were certain assumptions that the project team operated under. My recommendation for mobile is that you be as explicit as possible in your specs, even documenting that which might have been assumptions in the past.
For example:- screen transitions (slide, pull shades, etc.)- physics (scroll) behavior- refresh (e.g. list pull/snap) behavior- pinch/zoom behavior- loading behavior- spawning an in-app browser- …and the like
Also, I tend to document common behaviors and interactions the same way I might document a component - detailing it outside of the context of a specific screen/page/scene and referencing that for all applicable screens/pages/scenes. This dramatically shortens the time that might be needed to fully document the experience in a non-componentized manner.
Hope this helps!
- Doug

Doug Brashear
Mobile Practice Director

7901 Jones Branch Drive, Suite 400
McLean, VA 22102

Tel: 703.725.8031
Fax: 703.584.8921


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25 Aug 2011 - 9:28am
Emmett Barton


You make a good point. The trouble is that we don't have a great process for sharing documentation at the moment, so I feel a little like I'm starting from scratch. 

25 Aug 2011 - 10:09am
Matt Nish-Lapidus

You said that you have "completed the design" for the app. In that case, what artifacts do you already have from your design process? If you can communicate with the developers through the process and already have a number of things produced from the design process I'm not sure what value extra documentation will provide. In the end the goal is to produce the app, any documentation or artifacts made in the process of reaching that goal should be in service of problem solving, communication, and collaboration...


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