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IA Summit 2008: Nathan Curtis’s “Audiences & Artifacts”

Nathan Curtis of EightShapes asked a very simple question, “Why don’t we spend more time designing our deliverables?”

My Twitter notes are below:

  • How do we produce deliverables better, faster? Audience: execs, PMs, strategists, visual designers, Dev, QA, copywriters, us
  • Artifacts: strategy, concept model, map, flow, storyboard, wireframe, spec, mockup, style guide
  • Wow. Great matrix on which audiences care about which deliverables. Hot grid. Too bad I can’t twitter it [see slides]
  • “Client’s CEO just opened our comps in Photoshop, adjusted the saturation slider and loved what he saw” — quote from Chris Fahey on Twitter
  • Threshold between needs for stakeholders (abstract, high level) and implementation team (concrete details)
  • Perceived artifact value: essential, critical, refer to it often, somewhat useful, rarely useful
  • EightShapes asks their clients ahead of time what the value of each deliverable is to them
  • Wireframes and change history: greater importance to everyone else than to IAs. While concept models have much higher importance to IAs
  • “It was really useful to label design documentation the same to map between visual and IA work” — visual design lead
  • Deliverable life cycle: prep, concepts, variations, details. Your audience has changed over time. Can’t talk to all with 1 doc 08:44
  • Aspects at play: iteration, descoping, evolution of design, disruption (CEO input ;) consumer population growth
  • Structured: “go to x document, y page” Doc needs metadata: title, author, version, page #, total page count for good communication
  • Track changes: how doc evolved over time; should be detailed, useful and auditable. Particularly useful for onboarding, agenda
  • Modularity of document makes it easy to combine components to tell a story or disseminate to appropriate audience
  • Page patterns (shapes and text) allow for simple chunked out wireframe, allow you to name components of page. Common structure
  • Super cool. Page patterns is like a template so you don’t have to start from scratch for each page
  • PREP! Dan Brown[his business partner] stresses this constantly. Think about the deliverable before you jump right into creating it
  • Recipes: ingredients and preparation. Ingredients are page patterns. Prep is identifying needs, approach, competitors, findings
  • Investigate: apply user research techniques to your design deliverables. Get feedback: plan, test, iterate and improve
  • Be mechanized. Create efficiencies in technique. Can conform to publishing language and construct. Makes for more fluidity
  • “Patterns: global solutions to common design problems”
  • Issues with managing wireframess over time: synchronization, cost, context, process, audience
  • Scripting a wireframe page: template + page definition (regions & components) + grid (tell regions which components to use). All in XML
  • “Deliverables are not the sex. Sex is what leads to the deliverable” — @austingovella

Check out the slides here:

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