Friday, November 10, 2006

Communicating design concepts

Tips for communicating design concepts ...

"We have a saying around the office: "If you can't explain the design, it must not be right yet." It's a reminder to designers to not get so caught up in idea generation and specifying details that we lose sight of creating a coherent big picture for the design.

We need to exercise the ideas we generate by articulating them coherently; chances are high that if we can't describe our "great idea" with clarity, it's not such a great idea, after all. It's amazing how many design ideas seem just dandy on the whiteboard, then deflate like a punctured balloon when poked at with the sharp pencil of design communication.

One of the more difficult communication milestones during a design project is the design "vision." This is the point during the process when the design is far from complete, but the design team has a clear idea of the overall concept, navigation structure, and main elements of the application, product, or service, and the relationships among those elements. At this point, feedback is crucial for the design team: all of the remaining detail work hinges on these concepts. Getting them wrong now, and having to change them later, means weeks of wasted time and effort.

We've found there are some critical components to successfully communicating a conceptual design framework to a product team.

• Have a good story to tell
• Present design at a level of fidelity that matches the fidelity of your thinking
• Get all the decision-makers together in the same room
• Carve out time in the schedule for design communication"    (Continued via Coope)    [Usability Resources]

Framework Design Sketch - Usability, User Interface Design

Framework Design Sketch

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