Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Avoid Edge Cases by Designing Up Front

An extensive look at steps to effective planning of website design by Ben Henick ...

"In my last A List Apart article, I called attention to the following problem:

Some sites are steaming heaps of edge cases.

I then went further and complained that these edge cases are owed to a lack of planning. In the absence of careful pre-design preparation, site builders are powerless to stop designers (and other team members) from demanding an endless stream of tweaks and exceptions that will invariably result in needlessly convoluted markup and style sheets.

This article is meant to offer a solution to my earlier complaints by offering a brief explanation of the process steps—already familiar to information architects and the teams that employ them—which lead to effective scoping and wireframes, along with others that can ease the ongoing maintenance of a site.

In the context of web standards, the most significant product of the additional steps is a style guide, which strikes at the problem of ad hoc changes by tying the site’s structure directly to its graphic design.

The problem: leaping before looking
On many projects, I see the following process followed, and willingly follow it myself:

1. Acknowledge objectives
2. Design
3. Produce templates and stylesheets
4. Write code
5. Test presentation and behavior
6. Publish

Does this process look solid to you? For small projects handled by experienced people, it is."    (Continued via A List Apart)    [Usability Resources]


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