Standards development for industry applications (by yesterday :-)

18 May 2007 - 10:29am
7 years ago
3 replies
925 reads
Elizabeth Whitworth
2007

Hello all,

I need some advice! We are currently developing a set of standards for for
interface design and user interaction at my company. I have found many
examples of style guides for e-commerce applications and public web-sites,
but very little guidance regarding more complex industry-based applications.
Has anyone had any experience in creating and applying standards to a
diverse set of industry strength applications?

My company deals with functionality such as timeslot booking, complex data
entry/viewing, and transaction-based communication. We have already defined
some standards for basic visual design and interface elements (headers,
menus, tables, forms, etc.), and now management would like a set of
standards for screen layout and interaction design that can be applied to
all new development projects.

Any advice on how to approach such an assignment? I would particularly
appreciate some insight into how we could provide something basic but useful
to our developers *right now* (or as soon as we can create it), and then
build on the standards as we go. We want to get some basic standards out
asap to support a number of projects that will soon be underway. Eventually
we want to provide a comprehensive set of templates and possible interaction
components, but this will take time, since we have 6+ product types and only
3 of us in the (brand new :-) user experience department.

Thanks in advance,

- liz

---
Elizabeth Whitworth - Usability Analyst
TRANSPOREON GmbH & Co. KG
www.transporeon.com

fon: +49 [0]731 16906 ext.131
mail: whitworth at transporeon.com

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
TRANSPOREON GmbH & Co. KG, amtsgericht ulm, HRA 2947
komplementär: TRANSPOREON Beteiligungs GmbH, amtsgericht ulm, HRB 4135
geschäftsführer: axel busch, peter förster, roland hötzl, marc-oliver simon

Comments

18 May 2007 - 12:20pm
dmitryn
2004

Hi Elizabeth,

I'm currently dealing with the same challenge of developing UI/IxD
standards for a complex new application soon to be under development
in a new-to-UX development environment. Some of my lessons learned so
far:

1) Leverage existing UI standards for the platform(s) you are
designing for. The product I'm working on is built on a rich desktop
client platform, so the user expectations and available interaction
models are quite different from a web app. I've found it quite helpful
to use the UI guidelines for this platform as a starting point for my
standards.

2) Standards emerge during design. In my experience, I've been able to
develop basic usage guidelines for low-level UI elements without doing
a great deal of design, since these are relatively insensitive to the
overall context of the application. However, I'm finding that screen
layout and interaction models are much more specific to the particular
application and tasks I'm designing for.

3) Standards are useless without communication. I would suggest that,
as you're developing your standards, you simultaneously plan how you
will communicate them to both developers and management. Developers
will need training to know why the standards are important and how to
use them. Management will need communication to know why the standards
are important and why they shouldn't override them arbitrarily. :)

Hope this helps,

Dmitry

On 5/18/07, Elizabeth Whitworth <elizabethwhitworth at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hello all,
>
> I need some advice! We are currently developing a set of standards for for
> interface design and user interaction at my company. I have found many
> examples of style guides for e-commerce applications and public web-sites,
> but very little guidance regarding more complex industry-based applications.
> Has anyone had any experience in creating and applying standards to a
> diverse set of industry strength applications?
>
> My company deals with functionality such as timeslot booking, complex data
> entry/viewing, and transaction-based communication. We have already defined
> some standards for basic visual design and interface elements (headers,
> menus, tables, forms, etc.), and now management would like a set of
> standards for screen layout and interaction design that can be applied to
> all new development projects.
>
> Any advice on how to approach such an assignment? I would particularly
> appreciate some insight into how we could provide something basic but useful
> to our developers *right now* (or as soon as we can create it), and then
> build on the standards as we go. We want to get some basic standards out
> asap to support a number of projects that will soon be underway. Eventually
> we want to provide a comprehensive set of templates and possible interaction
> components, but this will take time, since we have 6+ product types and only
> 3 of us in the (brand new :-) user experience department.
>
> Thanks in advance,
>
> - liz
>
> ---
> Elizabeth Whitworth - Usability Analyst
> TRANSPOREON GmbH & Co. KG
> www.transporeon.com
>
> fon: +49 [0]731 16906 ext.131
> mail: whitworth at transporeon.com
>
> -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> TRANSPOREON GmbH & Co. KG, amtsgericht ulm, HRA 2947
> komplementär: TRANSPOREON Beteiligungs GmbH, amtsgericht ulm, HRB 4135
> geschäftsführer: axel busch, peter förster, roland hötzl, marc-oliver simon
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>

18 May 2007 - 3:28pm
Jeff Axup
2006

Not exactly in answer to your question, but I recently compiled a short list
of style guides which I figured might be useful (below). Style guides
usually end up picking up defacto standards and best practices. So you could
review competitors products, decide what's good or bad, and what is
de-facto, and then use it to make your own. Also bear in mind that mandating
standards for a design concept which is "still evolving" could inhibit
better versions of it being developed.

*Style Guides*

MSDN Windows Vista User Experience Guidelines

http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/default.asp?url=/library/en-us/UxGuide/UXGuide/Home.asp

(then click 'guidelines' in the nav tree on left)

Visual Studio User Interfaces

http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb165108(VS.80).aspx

Apple Human Interface Guidelines

http://developer.apple.com/documentation/UserExperience/Conceptual/OSXHIGuidelines/index.html#//apple_ref/doc/uid/20000957

JAVA Look and Feel Design Guidelines

http://java.sun.com/products/jlf/ed1/dg/index.htm

GNOME Human Interface Guidelines

http://developer.gnome.org/projects/gup/hig/

IBM Design Guidelines

http://www-03.ibm.com/easy/page/561

Yale Web Style Guide (basic content but easy to navigate and web oriented)

http://www.webstyleguide.com/index.html?/

Motif and CDE style guide (older)

http://post.doit.wisc.edu/library/techlib/manuals/adoclib/motif/motifsg/toc.htm

--
Best Regards,
Jeff
____________________________________________________________________________
Jeff Axup, Ph.D.
Principal Consultant, Mobile Community Design Consulting, San Diego

Research: Mobile Group Research Methods, Social Networks, Group Usability
E-mail: axup <at> userdesign.com
Blog: http://mobilecommunitydesign.com
Moblog: http://memeaddict.blogspot.com
Academic: http://www.infenv.itee.uq.edu.au
____________________________________________________________________________

On 5/18/07, Dmitry Nekrasovski <mail.dmitry at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> Hi Elizabeth,
>
> I'm currently dealing with the same challenge of developing UI/IxD
> standards for a complex new application soon to be under development
> in a new-to-UX development environment. Some of my lessons learned so
> far:
>
> 1) Leverage existing UI standards for the platform(s) you are
> designing for. The product I'm working on is built on a rich desktop
> client platform, so the user expectations and available interaction
> models are quite different from a web app. I've found it quite helpful
> to use the UI guidelines for this platform as a starting point for my
> standards.
>
> 2) Standards emerge during design. In my experience, I've been able to
> develop basic usage guidelines for low-level UI elements without doing
> a great deal of design, since these are relatively insensitive to the
> overall context of the application. However, I'm finding that screen
> layout and interaction models are much more specific to the particular
> application and tasks I'm designing for.
>
> 3) Standards are useless without communication. I would suggest that,
> as you're developing your standards, you simultaneously plan how you
> will communicate them to both developers and management. Developers
> will need training to know why the standards are important and how to
> use them. Management will need communication to know why the standards
> are important and why they shouldn't override them arbitrarily. :)
>
> Hope this helps,
>
> Dmitry
>
> On 5/18/07, Elizabeth Whitworth <elizabethwhitworth at gmail.com> wrote:
> > Hello all,
> >
> > I need some advice! We are currently developing a set of standards for
> for
> > interface design and user interaction at my company. I have found many
> > examples of style guides for e-commerce applications and public
> web-sites,
> > but very little guidance regarding more complex industry-based
> applications.
> > Has anyone had any experience in creating and applying standards to a
> > diverse set of industry strength applications?
> >
> > My company deals with functionality such as timeslot booking, complex
> data
> > entry/viewing, and transaction-based communication. We have already
> defined
> > some standards for basic visual design and interface elements (headers,
> > menus, tables, forms, etc.), and now management would like a set of
> > standards for screen layout and interaction design that can be applied
> to
> > all new development projects.
> >
> > Any advice on how to approach such an assignment? I would particularly
> > appreciate some insight into how we could provide something basic but
> useful
> > to our developers *right now* (or as soon as we can create it), and then
> > build on the standards as we go. We want to get some basic standards out
> > asap to support a number of projects that will soon be underway.
> Eventually
> > we want to provide a comprehensive set of templates and possible
> interaction
> > components, but this will take time, since we have 6+ product types and
> only
> > 3 of us in the (brand new :-) user experience department.
> >
> > Thanks in advance,
> >
> > - liz
> >
> > ---
> > Elizabeth Whitworth - Usability Analyst
> > TRANSPOREON GmbH & Co. KG
> > www.transporeon.com
> >
> > fon: +49 [0]731 16906 ext.131
> > mail: whitworth at transporeon.com
> >
> >
> -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> > TRANSPOREON GmbH & Co. KG, amtsgericht ulm, HRA 2947
> > komplementär: TRANSPOREON Beteiligungs GmbH, amtsgericht ulm, HRB 4135
> > geschäftsführer: axel busch, peter förster, roland hötzl, marc-oliver
> simon
> > ________________________________________________________________
> > Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> > To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> > List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> > List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> > (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> > Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> > Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> > Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> > Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
> >
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>

23 May 2007 - 6:09pm
Elizabeth Whitworth
2007

Thank you all for the replies. The advice is truly invaluable. as is the
moral support. I feel a lot better going into this after hearing your
stories :-D.

I think now I also have some ammo to go back to my boss and tell him that
what he wants cannot really be contained in a quick-fix style guide. There
needs to be a good amount of thought, and design, and a lot of
communication...and perhaps we need to lean further towards design
guidelines (vs. design standards) than we have up until now.

Another thing - I haven't heard anyone on this list mention the Research
Based Usability Guidelines from usability.gov as a resource:
http://www.usability.gov/pdfs/<http://www.usability.gov/pdfs/guidelines.html>
guidelines.html <http://www.usability.gov/pdfs/guidelines.html>. The
guidelines are not as in-depth as J.Tidwells patterns, but there are lots of
useful nuggets in there.

thanks again. grüße, liz.

---
Elizabeth Whitworth - Usability Analyst
TRANSPOREON GmbH & Co. KG
www.transporeon.com

fon: +49 [0]731 16906 ext.131
mail: whitworth at transporeon.com

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
TRANSPOREON GmbH & Co. KG, amtsgericht ulm, HRA 2947
komplementär: TRANSPOREON Beteiligungs GmbH, amtsgericht ulm, HRB 4135
geschäftsführer: axel busch, peter förster, roland hötzl, marc-oliver simon

On 5/19/07, Adrian Howard <adrianh at quietstars.com> wrote:
>
> On 18 May 2007, at 23:41, Pawson, Mark wrote:
>
> > I'll second Dmitry on this.
> [excellent stuff about lightweight documents snipped]
>
> I'll third him.
>
> One addition to the kind of documents Mark mentioned that I've found
> to be particularly effective are one page persona summaries for the
> products being developed. I've seen these end up living on the wall
> in the developers team room alongside the project tracking info -
> acting as continual reminders about the product is for.
>
> I'll also second the recommendation of Jenifer Tidwel's book. In
> addition to being an excellent book - it also has the advantage of
> coming from a company primarily known for technical development
> books. Makes it a much easier sell to developers.
>
> Even more effective than documentation and book recommendations is,
> of course, sitting down with the developers while they're designing
> and building the product. Find the time to do this if at all possible
> - it'll help everybody involved :-)
>
> Cheers,
>
> Adrian
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>

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