Interaction Design Specification Sites

11 Aug 2008 - 12:43pm
6 years ago
6 replies
1616 reads
Chris Ryan
2004

There¹s been a fair amount of discussion here about documentation formats
and software used to produce wireframes, prototypes, and so on. But how do
people manage an entire specification? I have been using a hand-coded
intranet site, controlled via subversion; but my team is growing and I¹m
considering other ways to manage the information. Web access and formats
(not, for instance, Word documents) and some sort of version control are my
main requirements, along with relative ease of editing. What do people use?
Blogs, wikis?

Chris

Comments

12 Aug 2008 - 7:37am
Jef Lippiatt
2008

From my personal experience it seems that using Wiki's is becoming
more popular. However, note that in my experience Wiki's are more
used for collaboration on documentation than anything else. And the
collaboration is usually on Word Documents or articles posted
directly in a wiki post.

Also, I know a lot of groups that use php forums of some variety such
as: phpnuke, vanilla forum, etc. Again used for collaboration, but
easy to see when edits are made and the like.

I know there are also hosted programs and analysis tools such as
offerings like BaseCamp from 37signals. I know in some of the more
robust applications you can assign tasks, and run reports.

To my knowledge I've never seen a very successful blog for
collaborating and keeping track of things like that. Of course I've
only seen a few attempts at it.

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Posted from the new ixda.org
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12 Aug 2008 - 9:09am
Anonymous

Hi Chris,
We are using Microsoft Sharepoint to share interaction specs. One
thing we are trying to do is use their picture galleries as a way to
share design patterns - we've just started this but I'm hopeful
that this will be an adjunt if not a replacement for huge documents.
I'm also finding the versioning very useful - allowing me to update
one document many times and put versioning comments on the site.
Finally there is a discussion forum feature that allows developers to
ask questions - I subscribe to the forum via RSS so I get immediate
notification when a new question about the specs is added - also the
forums allow us to keep a record of our conversations. There is a
wiki feature in Sharepoint too but I haven't used it too much. Hope
this helps!

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Posted from the new ixda.org
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12 Aug 2008 - 9:36am
Fred Beecher
2006

On 8/11/08, Chris Ryan <chris.ryan at visioncritical.com> wrote:
>
> There¹s been a fair amount of discussion here about documentation formats
> and software used to produce wireframes, prototypes, and so on. But how do
> people manage an entire specification? I have been using a hand-coded
> intranet site, controlled via subversion; but my team is growing and I¹m
> considering other ways to manage the information. Web access and formats
> (not, for instance, Word documents) and some sort of version control are my
> main requirements, along with relative ease of editing. What do people use?
> Blogs, wikis?

The Big Giant Spec Document, while a creature that is slowly starting to
become more rare, will always be with us. But one thing I've found that is a
nice way around it is annotated prototypes.

I'm a huge Axure fan for many reasons, but one thing it allows me to do is
to generate my prototypes in such a way that someone viewing the prototype
(which is in HTML) can click on an icon by any object on the page to reveal
its annotations. You can also look at notes for the page overall.

V5 of Axure has implemented what I think is a Subversion sharing and
versioning system, so it should meet your versioning requirements in that
way. You'd have to go back to a previous version of the Axure file and
re-generate the prototype from that. It's not a big deal, but it's not like
flipping pages to see what was in version 8.

F.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Fred Beecher
Sr. User Experience Consultant
Evantage Consulting
O: 612.230.3838 // M: 612.810.6745
IM: fbeecher at gmail.com (google/msn) // fredevc (aim/yahoo)
T: http://twitter.com/fred_beecher

12 Aug 2008 - 10:51am
Shali Nguyen
2008

Chris,

It looks like you are just looking for an online collaboration tool? I've been working with a system called Central Desktop lately thats been working out pretty well for my team. We were looking for version control, email notification, revision history (wiki style), navigation/tab organization, and document management. You should definitely check that out.

Also -- Google sites actually is pretty good as well. I can show you a sample of an intranet I made with Google sites if you contact me directly.

Shali Nguyen

12 Aug 2008 - 11:39am
Jennifer Vignone
2008

I use the Wiki and have set up Specifications as well as Style Guides at a
couple of firms. I have found it to be easy to work with and that having
it all in a forum where the developers go frequently for reporting,
status, Jira, and related tasks makes it very easy to get them to use it.
Also, since the Wiki is so easy to update, I can evolve the styles and
specifications as we iterate on various pieces of a project and it has
made working more time-efficient.

I still use Word for formal documentation such as the foundation of a
design approach. However, I still distill that for the Wiki so the context
of the approach is not lost if no one reads the Word document that is also
posted.

Jennifer
Jennifer Vignone
User Experience Design

12 Aug 2008 - 10:07am
Alan James Salmoni
2008

>From what Jeff said, we use a simple wiki to keep track of things. A
good permissions policy needs to be established beforehand to the
bits the customer has access too, though with a good wiki, you can
roll-back any changes made in error easily enough. In terms of
usability stuff, we have a custom-made system that keeps a track of
research, milestones, results and so on. This was PHP and SQL which
kept costs quite low ;-)

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Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=31945

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