Creating a UI Spec Document Template

26 Aug 2008 - 9:10pm
4 years ago
41 replies
16222 reads
jmcatee
2008

Right now our small team is communicating UI changes and enhancements
with developers using PowerPoint mock ups with notes. I am concerned
this will eventually backfire and would like to bring a little more
formality to the process. Is anyone willing to share their UI spec
document and/or recommendations for putting together a spec. I have
used the PayPal format before but it has been a while and I don't
remember everything that was in it.

Since our team is very small I don't want to bring about a lot of
paperwork just something to make sure we have all of our bases
covered.

Thanks,
Jamie

Comments

27 Aug 2008 - 11:30am
jmcatee
2008

Right now our small team is communicating UI changes and enhancements
with developers using PowerPoint mock ups with notes. I am concerned
this will eventually backfire and would like to bring a little more
formality to the process.

Is anyone willing to share their UI spec document and/or
recommendations for putting together a spec? I have used the PayPal
format before but it has been a while and I don't remember everything
that was in it.

Since our team is very small I don't want to bring about a lot of
paperwork just something to make sure we have all of our bases
covered.

Thanks,
Jamie

27 Aug 2008 - 12:13pm
.pauric
2006

I recommend the book Communicating Design by Dan Brown

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=32403

27 Aug 2008 - 12:21pm
Matt Nish-Lapidus
2007

I will second that recommendation. that book is almost always
somewhere on my desk.

On Wed, Aug 27, 2008 at 1:13 PM, pauric <radiorental at gmail.com> wrote:
> I recommend the book Communicating Design by Dan Brown
>

--
Matt Nish-Lapidus
work: matt at bibliocommons.com / www.bibliocommons.com
--
personal: mattnl at gmail.com
twitter: emenel

27 Aug 2008 - 12:39pm
AlokJain
2006

Jamie,

We have been using a wiki extensively. It has
1. added a great deal of agility to my documentation process. I start
with x level of documentation and add/edit as the need arises.
2. The other thing that this has helped me is to document my patterns
in one place and link them from appropriate points in the rest of the
documentation.
3. versioning is simple now, wiki always has latest info, with files
people tend to look at their local files

Specifically on documentation of design details, I have used two models:
a) Keep each page as an image and label parts of design elements and
explain those in text below. In this model developers need to keep
moving back and forth between design and the documentation.
http://alok.ajain1.googlepages.com/Picture1.png

b) Second model is where I have integrated the documentation with the
design using arrows, flow diagrams etc. http://alok.ajain1.googlepages.com/Filters.png

Both models have been effective with different developers. You should
see what approach works for your developers - they are the internal
clients in this case.

We also use basecamp for any discussions we want to be alt to track in
future.

Hope this helps

Cheers
Alok Jain

On Aug 27, 2008, at 12:30 PM, Jamie McAtee wrote:

> Right now our small team is communicating UI changes and enhancements
> with developers using PowerPoint mock ups with notes. I am concerned
> this will eventually backfire and would like to bring a little more
> formality to the process.
>
> Is anyone willing to share their UI spec document and/or
> recommendations for putting together a spec? I have used the PayPal
> format before but it has been a while and I don't remember everything
> that was in it.
>
> Since our team is very small I don't want to bring about a lot of
> paperwork just something to make sure we have all of our bases
> covered.
>
> Thanks,
> Jamie
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help

27 Aug 2008 - 2:17pm
Christian Crumlish
2006

I'll see you one Communicating Design and raise you an Eight Shapes
documentation patterns system.... Either hire them to consult or teach you
in a workshop, or encourage them to share more of their expertise in other
ways.
-x-

On Wed, Aug 27, 2008 at 10:13 AM, pauric <radiorental at gmail.com> wrote:

> I recommend the book Communicating Design by Dan Brown
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=32403
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

--
Christian Crumlish http://xianlandia.com
Yahoo! pattern detective http://design.yahoo.com
Yahoo! Developer Network evangelist http://open.yahoo.com
IA Institute director of technology http://iainstitute.org

27 Aug 2008 - 6:24pm
dustbin
2008

Hi Jamie,

I'd say the methods Alok presented are a good start. I'd also add that in addition to visuals of your interface (whatever fidelity you are at), I'd add a Functional Overview narrative of each screen depicted and a list of each interactive element, their states (over, down, release, etc.) and what they do.

If you can't get Eight Shapes on board to help you out, ping me off line and I'll send you some examples.

Regards,
Dustin

27 Aug 2008 - 6:29pm
Chauncey Wilson
2007

There is some early research in the software engineering literature
that discusses the effect of designing based on a prototype or on a
formal UI spec.

Boehm et al, 1984]. B.W. Boehm, T.L. Gray, and T. Seewaldt,
"Prototyping Versus Specifying: A Multiproject Experiment," IEEE
Transactions on Software Engineering, Vol. SE-10, No. 3, May 1984, pp.
290 - 302.

It might be worth digging this old, but classic article up.

Chauncey

On Tue, Aug 26, 2008 at 10:10 PM, Jamie McAtee <jamcatee at indiana.edu> wrote:
> Right now our small team is communicating UI changes and enhancements
> with developers using PowerPoint mock ups with notes. I am concerned
> this will eventually backfire and would like to bring a little more
> formality to the process. Is anyone willing to share their UI spec
> document and/or recommendations for putting together a spec. I have
> used the PayPal format before but it has been a while and I don't
> remember everything that was in it.
>
> Since our team is very small I don't want to bring about a lot of
> paperwork just something to make sure we have all of our bases
> covered.
>
> Thanks,
> Jamie
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

27 Aug 2008 - 7:05pm
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

Interesting back story... While I have no idea where the current spec/
documentation formats or standards are for PayPal today, they got
their starting documents from me even if the folks there didn't
realize it. My wife was one of the first designers on the team when
PayPal got started and she came home one day and asked for help on
documenting a new feature they were building. I basically gave her a
trimmed down version of the design spec formats we used at Abode to
document the common interface for the early versions of the Creative
Suite.

That original format was developed by David Valiulis when he joined
the design team at Adobe back in the mid-90s. He is one of the best
tech writers I ever had the pleasure to work with in this industry.

I've always had to deal with the design specification in my career, as
much as I have hated to do so. It's a necessary task though. I'd be
happy to contribute to a standard open-source format that any design
team could use if someone was interested in leading such a project. I
don't currently have the time to lead one, but can easily help such an
effort and share what I know works and what doesn't based on the
numerous specs I've been involved with at a variety of levels.

I've always felt interface designers lack a good means to spec their
work. A "blessed" format that comes from the industry would go a long
ways towards bringing even more creditability to the profession as a
whole.

--
Andrei Herasimchuk

Principal, Involution Studios
innovating the digital world

e. andrei at involutionstudios.com
c. +1 408 306 6422

27 Aug 2008 - 7:11pm
SemanticWill
2007

Talking about a doc spec in the 3rd person -- well - not too useful.
Share your templates or shut the f($&k up .

will evans
emotive architect &
hedonic designer
will at semanticfoundry.com
617.281.1281
twitter: semanticwill
aim: semanticwill
gtalk: wkevans4
skype: semanticwill

27 Aug 2008 - 7:50pm
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

I have no idea what your point is or what your trying to say. Talking
about it in the 3rd person? Hunh? Demands to share my work? With your
tone why should I?

Further, the "templates" are owned by my former employers and current
clients. They paid for them. You didn't. I can't just take the work
and give it you. (And in case it wasn't clear in my other message, I
didn't do that for PayPal, I helped my wife come up with a new spec
template based on how we did things at Adobe.)

Creating an open-source design specification format is more than
copying and pasting a a template. You'd want a lot of people
contributing to make sure its thorough and follows a good set of
standards. Very much like blueprints operate for architects.

--
Andrei Herasimchuk

Principal, Involution Studios
innovating the digital world

e. andrei at involutionstudios.com
c. +1 408 306 6422

27 Aug 2008 - 7:53pm
subimage interactive
2004

Forgot to mention - I usually store / communicate additional
information via Basecamp to my clients. A wiki would work just as well
internally for versioning / etc.

- s

On Wed, Aug 27, 2008 at 5:52 PM, seth b <subimage at gmail.com> wrote:
> I like PDD's and wireframes drawn with pen/paper, or Illustrator if
> it's for a client.
>
> Here's an example of each of mine.
>
> --------------------
> seth - subimage llc
> -----
> http://sublog.subimage.com
> -----
> Cashboard - Estimates, invoices, and time tracking software - for free!
> http://www.getcashboard.com
> -----
> Substruct - Open source RoR e-commerce software.
> http://code.google.com/p/substruct/
>
>
>
> On Wed, Aug 27, 2008 at 5:11 PM, William Evans <wkevans4 at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Talking about a doc spec in the 3rd person -- well - not too useful. Share
>> your templates or shut the f($&k up .
>>
>>
>>
>> will evans
>> emotive architect &
>> hedonic designer
>> will at semanticfoundry.com
>> 617.281.1281
>> twitter: semanticwill
>> aim: semanticwill
>> gtalk: wkevans4
>> skype: semanticwill
>> _________________________
>> Sent via iPhone
>>
>>
>> On Aug 27, 2008, at 8:05 PM, Andrei Herasimchuk
>> <aherasimchuk at involutionstudios.com> wrote:
>>
>>> Interesting back story... While I have no idea where the current
>>> spec/documentation formats or standards are for PayPal today, they got their
>>> starting documents from me even if the folks there didn't realize it. My
>>> wife was one of the first designers on the team when PayPal got started and
>>> she came home one day and asked for help on documenting a new feature they
>>> were building. I basically gave her a trimmed down version of the design
>>> spec formats we used at Abode to document the common interface for the early
>>> versions of the Creative Suite.
>>>
>>> That original format was developed by David Valiulis when he joined the
>>> design team at Adobe back in the mid-90s. He is one of the best tech writers
>>> I ever had the pleasure to work with in this industry.
>>>
>>> I've always had to deal with the design specification in my career, as
>>> much as I have hated to do so. It's a necessary task though. I'd be happy to
>>> contribute to a standard open-source format that any design team could use
>>> if someone was interested in leading such a project. I don't currently have
>>> the time to lead one, but can easily help such an effort and share what I
>>> know works and what doesn't based on the numerous specs I've been involved
>>> with at a variety of levels.
>>>
>>> I've always felt interface designers lack a good means to spec their work.
>>> A "blessed" format that comes from the industry would go a long ways towards
>>> bringing even more creditability to the profession as a whole.
>>>
>>> --
>>> Andrei Herasimchuk
>>>
>>> Principal, Involution Studios
>>> innovating the digital world
>>>
>>> e. andrei at involutionstudios.com
>>> c. +1 408 306 6422
>>>
>>>
>>> On Aug 27, 2008, at 9:30 AM, Jamie McAtee wrote:
>>>
>>>> Right now our small team is communicating UI changes and enhancements
>>>> with developers using PowerPoint mock ups with notes. I am concerned
>>>> this will eventually backfire and would like to bring a little more
>>>> formality to the process.
>>>>
>>>> Is anyone willing to share their UI spec document and/or
>>>> recommendations for putting together a spec? I have used the PayPal
>>>> format before but it has been a while and I don't remember everything
>>>> that was in it.
>>>>
>>>> Since our team is very small I don't want to bring about a lot of
>>>> paperwork just something to make sure we have all of our bases
>>>> covered.
>>>>
>>>> Thanks,
>>>> Jamie
>>>> ________________________________________________________________
>>>> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
>>>> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
>>>> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
>>>> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
>>>> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>>>
>>> ________________________________________________________________
>>> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
>>> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
>>> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
>>> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
>>> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>>
>> ________________________________________________________________
>> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
>> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
>> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
>> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
>> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>>
>

27 Aug 2008 - 7:56pm
SemanticWill
2007

If you can't open your work up to crit. Maybe it ain't that good?

will evans
emotive architect &
hedonic designer
will at semanticfoundry.com
617.281.1281
twitter: semanticwill
aim: semanticwill
gtalk: wkevans4
skype: semanticwill
_________________________
Sent via iPhone

On Aug 27, 2008, at 8:50 PM, Andrei Herasimchuk <aherasimchuk at involutionstudios.com
> wrote:

> I have no idea what your point is or what your trying to say.
> Talking about it in the 3rd person? Hunh? Demands to share my work?
> With your tone why should I?
>
> Further, the "templates" are owned by my former employers and
> current clients. They paid for them. You didn't. I can't just take
> the work and give it you. (And in case it wasn't clear in my other
> message, I didn't do that for PayPal, I helped my wife come up with
> a new spec template based on how we did things at Adobe.)
>
> Creating an open-source design specification format is more than
> copying and pasting a a template. You'd want a lot of people
> contributing to make sure its thorough and follows a good set of
> standards. Very much like blueprints operate for architects.
>
> --
> Andrei Herasimchuk
>
> Principal, Involution Studios
> innovating the digital world
>
> e. andrei at involutionstudios.com
> c. +1 408 306 6422
>
>
>
> On Aug 27, 2008, at 5:11 PM, William Evans wrote:
>
>> Talking about a doc spec in the 3rd person -- well - not too
>> useful. Share your templates or shut the f($&k up .
>>
>> will evans
>> emotive architect &
>> hedonic designer
>> will at semanticfoundry.com
>> 617.281.1281
>> twitter: semanticwill
>> aim: semanticwill
>> gtalk: wkevans4
>> skype: semanticwill
>> _________________________
>> Sent via iPhone
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help

27 Aug 2008 - 8:07pm
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

On Aug 27, 2008, at 5:56 PM, William Evans wrote:
> If you can't open your work up to crit. Maybe it ain't that good?

Ok seriously... I have no idea what chip you have on your shoulder
here right now. Further, I'd love to know where my past behavior on
this list ever gave you the impression I was unable to stand by my
work. You're creating an argument where there is none, and further, if
you're bucking for a fight in public, then you're picking the wrong
the guy to make whatever point you seem to be trying to get across,
poorly I might add. Do you seriously want to get into ad hominem
attacks with the "Maybe it ain't that good?

I just offered to contribute to help create a format that everyone
could use. How is that hiding? How is that not sharing?

I have a large amount of experience here that I can use to base what I
think would make a good open format that designers can use, but I also
believe others who have done so should contribute as well.

--
Andrei Herasimchuk

Principal, Involution Studios
innovating the digital world

e. andrei at involutionstudios.com
c. +1 408 306 6422

27 Aug 2008 - 7:52pm
subimage interactive
2004

I like PDD's and wireframes drawn with pen/paper, or Illustrator if
it's for a client.

Here's an example of each of mine.

--------------------
seth - subimage llc
-----
http://sublog.subimage.com
-----
Cashboard - Estimates, invoices, and time tracking software - for free!
http://www.getcashboard.com
-----
Substruct - Open source RoR e-commerce software.
http://code.google.com/p/substruct/

On Wed, Aug 27, 2008 at 5:11 PM, William Evans <wkevans4 at gmail.com> wrote:
> Talking about a doc spec in the 3rd person -- well - not too useful. Share
> your templates or shut the f($&k up .
>
>
>
> will evans
> emotive architect &
> hedonic designer
> will at semanticfoundry.com
> 617.281.1281
> twitter: semanticwill
> aim: semanticwill
> gtalk: wkevans4
> skype: semanticwill
> _________________________
> Sent via iPhone
>
>
> On Aug 27, 2008, at 8:05 PM, Andrei Herasimchuk
> <aherasimchuk at involutionstudios.com> wrote:
>
>> Interesting back story... While I have no idea where the current
>> spec/documentation formats or standards are for PayPal today, they got their
>> starting documents from me even if the folks there didn't realize it. My
>> wife was one of the first designers on the team when PayPal got started and
>> she came home one day and asked for help on documenting a new feature they
>> were building. I basically gave her a trimmed down version of the design
>> spec formats we used at Abode to document the common interface for the early
>> versions of the Creative Suite.
>>
>> That original format was developed by David Valiulis when he joined the
>> design team at Adobe back in the mid-90s. He is one of the best tech writers
>> I ever had the pleasure to work with in this industry.
>>
>> I've always had to deal with the design specification in my career, as
>> much as I have hated to do so. It's a necessary task though. I'd be happy to
>> contribute to a standard open-source format that any design team could use
>> if someone was interested in leading such a project. I don't currently have
>> the time to lead one, but can easily help such an effort and share what I
>> know works and what doesn't based on the numerous specs I've been involved
>> with at a variety of levels.
>>
>> I've always felt interface designers lack a good means to spec their work.
>> A "blessed" format that comes from the industry would go a long ways towards
>> bringing even more creditability to the profession as a whole.
>>
>> --
>> Andrei Herasimchuk
>>
>> Principal, Involution Studios
>> innovating the digital world
>>
>> e. andrei at involutionstudios.com
>> c. +1 408 306 6422
>>
>>
>> On Aug 27, 2008, at 9:30 AM, Jamie McAtee wrote:
>>
>>> Right now our small team is communicating UI changes and enhancements
>>> with developers using PowerPoint mock ups with notes. I am concerned
>>> this will eventually backfire and would like to bring a little more
>>> formality to the process.
>>>
>>> Is anyone willing to share their UI spec document and/or
>>> recommendations for putting together a spec? I have used the PayPal
>>> format before but it has been a while and I don't remember everything
>>> that was in it.
>>>
>>> Since our team is very small I don't want to bring about a lot of
>>> paperwork just something to make sure we have all of our bases
>>> covered.
>>>
>>> Thanks,
>>> Jamie
>>> ________________________________________________________________
>>> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
>>> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
>>> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
>>> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
>>> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>>
>> ________________________________________________________________
>> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
>> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
>> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
>> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
>> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>
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27 Aug 2008 - 8:21pm
Alex ONeal
2008

Re: unpleasant exchange.

I'm dismayed at this turn on events in a professional forum. But perhaps
it's a joke -- Will, are you being deliberately "emotive" for your own
"hedonic" reasons? Are we just missing the punch line?

bests,
Alex O'Neal

--
The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The next best time is
now.

27 Aug 2008 - 8:31pm
Andre Charland
2008

Hey Seth,

That's cool. I've never thought of organizing the pages like that in the
PDD, I'm no pro though. I can see that as valuable and easy to use tool
with teams working out content and priorities for websites. Great to hand
that off to a designer/IA.

Andre.

On Wed, Aug 27, 2008 at 5:52 PM, seth b <subimage at gmail.com> wrote:

> I like PDD's and wireframes drawn with pen/paper, or Illustrator if
> it's for a client.
>
> Here's an example of each of mine.
>
> --------------------
> seth - subimage llc
> -----
> http://sublog.subimage.com
> -----
> Cashboard - Estimates, invoices, and time tracking software - for free!
> http://www.getcashboard.com
> -----
> Substruct - Open source RoR e-commerce software.
> http://code.google.com/p/substruct/
>
>
>
> On Wed, Aug 27, 2008 at 5:11 PM, William Evans <wkevans4 at gmail.com> wrote:
> > Talking about a doc spec in the 3rd person -- well - not too useful.
> Share
> > your templates or shut the f($&k up .
> >
> >
> >
> > will evans
> > emotive architect &
> > hedonic designer
> > will at semanticfoundry.com
> > 617.281.1281
> > twitter: semanticwill
> > aim: semanticwill
> > gtalk: wkevans4
> > skype: semanticwill
> > _________________________
> > Sent via iPhone
> >
> >
> > On Aug 27, 2008, at 8:05 PM, Andrei Herasimchuk
> > <aherasimchuk at involutionstudios.com> wrote:
> >
> >> Interesting back story... While I have no idea where the current
> >> spec/documentation formats or standards are for PayPal today, they got
> their
> >> starting documents from me even if the folks there didn't realize it. My
> >> wife was one of the first designers on the team when PayPal got started
> and
> >> she came home one day and asked for help on documenting a new feature
> they
> >> were building. I basically gave her a trimmed down version of the design
> >> spec formats we used at Abode to document the common interface for the
> early
> >> versions of the Creative Suite.
> >>
> >> That original format was developed by David Valiulis when he joined the
> >> design team at Adobe back in the mid-90s. He is one of the best tech
> writers
> >> I ever had the pleasure to work with in this industry.
> >>
> >> I've always had to deal with the design specification in my career, as
> >> much as I have hated to do so. It's a necessary task though. I'd be
> happy to
> >> contribute to a standard open-source format that any design team could
> use
> >> if someone was interested in leading such a project. I don't currently
> have
> >> the time to lead one, but can easily help such an effort and share what
> I
> >> know works and what doesn't based on the numerous specs I've been
> involved
> >> with at a variety of levels.
> >>
> >> I've always felt interface designers lack a good means to spec their
> work.
> >> A "blessed" format that comes from the industry would go a long ways
> towards
> >> bringing even more creditability to the profession as a whole.
> >>
> >> --
> >> Andrei Herasimchuk
> >>
> >> Principal, Involution Studios
> >> innovating the digital world
> >>
> >> e. andrei at involutionstudios.com
> >> c. +1 408 306 6422
> >>
> >>
> >> On Aug 27, 2008, at 9:30 AM, Jamie McAtee wrote:
> >>
> >>> Right now our small team is communicating UI changes and enhancements
> >>> with developers using PowerPoint mock ups with notes. I am concerned
> >>> this will eventually backfire and would like to bring a little more
> >>> formality to the process.
> >>>
> >>> Is anyone willing to share their UI spec document and/or
> >>> recommendations for putting together a spec? I have used the PayPal
> >>> format before but it has been a while and I don't remember everything
> >>> that was in it.
> >>>
> >>> Since our team is very small I don't want to bring about a lot of
> >>> paperwork just something to make sure we have all of our bases
> >>> covered.
> >>>
> >>> Thanks,
> >>> Jamie
> >>> ________________________________________________________________
> >>> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> >>> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
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> >>> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
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> >>
> >> ________________________________________________________________
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--
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President and Co-Founder, Nitobi
e. andre.charland at gmail.com
skype. ebadre
b. http://blogs.nitobi.com/andre
w. http://www.nitobi.com

27 Aug 2008 - 10:13pm
Peyush Agarwal
2007

Will,

" shut the f($&k up" ??

This is out of line. There was no need for it. Please do not use this language on this list. I am on this list to learn from folks and contribute, and your response did not help with either.

Thanks
-Peyush

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com [mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of William Evans
Sent: Wednesday, August 27, 2008 6:12 PM
To: Andrei Herasimchuk
Cc: IXDA list
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Creating a UI Spec Document Template

Talking about a doc spec in the 3rd person -- well - not too useful.
Share your templates or shut the f($&k up .

will evans
emotive architect &
hedonic designer
will at semanticfoundry.com
617.281.1281
twitter: semanticwill
aim: semanticwill
gtalk: wkevans4
skype: semanticwill
_________________________
Sent via iPhone

On Aug 27, 2008, at 8:05 PM, Andrei Herasimchuk <aherasimchuk at involutionstudios.com
> wrote:

> Interesting back story... While I have no idea where the current
> spec/documentation formats or standards are for PayPal today, they
> got their starting documents from me even if the folks there didn't
> realize it. My wife was one of the first designers on the team when
> PayPal got started and she came home one day and asked for help on
> documenting a new feature they were building. I basically gave her a
> trimmed down version of the design spec formats we used at Abode to
> document the common interface for the early versions of the Creative
> Suite.
>
> That original format was developed by David Valiulis when he joined
> the design team at Adobe back in the mid-90s. He is one of the best
> tech writers I ever had the pleasure to work with in this industry.
>
> I've always had to deal with the design specification in my career,
> as much as I have hated to do so. It's a necessary task though. I'd
> be happy to contribute to a standard open-source format that any
> design team could use if someone was interested in leading such a
> project. I don't currently have the time to lead one, but can easily
> help such an effort and share what I know works and what doesn't
> based on the numerous specs I've been involved with at a variety of
> levels.
>
> I've always felt interface designers lack a good means to spec their
> work. A "blessed" format that comes from the industry would go a
> long ways towards bringing even more creditability to the profession
> as a whole.
>
> --
> Andrei Herasimchuk
>
> Principal, Involution Studios
> innovating the digital world
>
> e. andrei at involutionstudios.com
> c. +1 408 306 6422
>
>
> On Aug 27, 2008, at 9:30 AM, Jamie McAtee wrote:
>
>> Right now our small team is communicating UI changes and enhancements
>> with developers using PowerPoint mock ups with notes. I am concerned
>> this will eventually backfire and would like to bring a little more
>> formality to the process.
>>
>> Is anyone willing to share their UI spec document and/or
>> recommendations for putting together a spec? I have used the PayPal
>> format before but it has been a while and I don't remember everything
>> that was in it.
>>
>> Since our team is very small I don't want to bring about a lot of
>> paperwork just something to make sure we have all of our bases
>> covered.
>>
>> Thanks,
>> Jamie
>> ________________________________________________________________
>> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
>> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
>> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
>> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
>> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
________________________________________________________________
Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
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28 Aug 2008 - 1:58am
Uday Gajendar
2007

Yep I totally agree. That would be awesome! We're suffering from
massive spec fatigue with different flavors for the different teams,
etc. Having a "blessed" format would be helpful on many levels!

Also as part of that perhaps achieving some coherence on best
practices to review, update, disseminate such specs with non-design
partners (like QA, dev, back-end, etc.). Not to mention primer lessons
for those folks to read and interpret UI specs, setting their
expectations on level of detail, type of content, etc.

Anyway, count me in...

Uday Gajendar
Sr. Interaction Designer
Voice Technology Group
Cisco | San Jose
------------------------------
ugajenda at cisco.com
+1 408 902 2137

On Aug 27, 2008, at 5:05 PM, Andrei Herasimchuk wrote:

> I've always felt interface designers lack a good means to spec their
> work. A "blessed" format that comes from the industry would go a
> long ways towards bringing even more creditability to the profession
> as a whole.

28 Aug 2008 - 2:05am
Uday Gajendar
2007

I agree...Dude, Totally not cool. Andrei had a great suggestion for
the community. Lighten up! Bad day at the office??

-uday

On Aug 27, 2008, at 8:13 PM, Peyush Agarwal wrote:

> Will,
>
> " shut the f($&k up" ??
>
> This is out of line. There was no need for it. Please do not use
> this language on this list. I am on this list to learn from folks
> and contribute, and your response did not help with either.
>
> Thanks
> -Peyush

28 Aug 2008 - 10:36am
Taras Brizitsky
2008

After a period of experiments I've found Design Description Document
http://www.thinkvitamin.com/features/design/deliverables-that-work-design-description-documents
to work fine for me. Bad news: updating massives of specs with lots of
pictures/annotations is a big overhead.

WIKI: might be a good solution if only it worked. Formatting
more-less complex documents in modern wikis or dealing with pictures
there often takes too much time to be effective.

Andrei, I love the idea of having an open and more-less standard
template for design documentation. Even if one size doesn't fit all
this would save a lot of time by preventing wheel reinvention.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=32403

28 Aug 2008 - 10:44am
jmcatee
2008

Thanks to everyone who shared examples and gave ideas. I have ordered
Communicating Design it looks like a great book.

We are a very new team the person who has been around the longest has
been here 5 months and I have been here a month. We have one more
person joining in two months and that will round out the team minus
the manager who started the initiative. So we have a lot of work
ahead of us to establish how things are communicated etc.

Thanks again and keep the suggestions/ideas coming.

Jamie McAtee
User Interface Designer
Manhattan Associates

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=32403

28 Aug 2008 - 10:57am
Matt Nish-Lapidus
2007

I would also love to have some sort of "standard" spec format.. I'm
struggling to come up with something that works for my current project
where I need to do very detailed wireframes with interaction
specs/notes... biggest problem is that it's super hard to fit onto a
printed page.

On Thu, Aug 28, 2008 at 11:36 AM, tbrizitsky <sacrat at gmail.com> wrote:
> After a period of experiments I've found Design Description Document
> http://www.thinkvitamin.com/features/design/deliverables-that-work-design-description-documents
> to work fine for me. Bad news: updating massives of specs with lots of
> pictures/annotations is a big overhead.
>
> WIKI: might be a good solution if only it worked. Formatting
> more-less complex documents in modern wikis or dealing with pictures
> there often takes too much time to be effective.
>
> Andrei, I love the idea of having an open and more-less standard
> template for design documentation. Even if one size doesn't fit all
> this would save a lot of time by preventing wheel reinvention.
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=32403
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

--
Matt Nish-Lapidus
work: matt at bibliocommons.com / www.bibliocommons.com
--
personal: mattnl at gmail.com
twitter: emenel

28 Aug 2008 - 12:03pm
Taras Brizitsky
2008

Matthew, I've tried to implement an zoom-like approach: one screen
for the whole view plus many smaller pages for specific controls and
components. This has disadvantage of too many splits and additional
work of keeping pieces together but developers seem to have little
use of highly detailed maps and wireframes anyway.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=32403

28 Aug 2008 - 5:45pm
Anonymous

Jamie, have you tried/used Visio? Besides it's general ubiquity, I
guess I don't see the benefit of PowerPoint...

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=32403

28 Aug 2008 - 7:00pm
Jim Leftwich
2004

Jamie, this is always a good subject to discuss within the community,
so thanks for bringing it up!

First, however, I'd like to underscore what others have already said
regarding how we all want to present ourselves professionally in our
discussion forums. Those of us that have been participating in
online forums since the 1980s know all too well the challenges
associated with communicating in the limited bandwidth of text
responses.

Ours is an incredibly and beautifully diverse community of
professionals, with an equally wide array of approaches and
methodologies used to confront our many design challenges.

Civility and mutual respect are always and forever going to be our
first order here. Listening to and respecting the voices of others
is our best approach to encourage a sharing of our many skills and
experiences.

As for design specifications, as we see, there have been a number of
solutions mentioned above. Since I began consulting in Interaction
Design in 1983, my approach to interaction specification has largely
been in digitally-created print documentation. Even as interactive
means began to appear in the late 1980s and beyond, I've stuck to
blue-print-like specs, but I understand why others prefer different
methods and everyone should work with what works best for their
situation.

With my own work, much of the interaction stretched across both
digital and physical controls and displays, so print documentation
provided a way to efficiently and simply documents flow,
interrelationships, and logical rules.

Also, print documentation, if adequately detailed, is very very
efficient and compact. It's relatively easy to instantly turn to a
page or descriptive paragraph explaining the logic or behavior, as
opposed to having to reverse extract that from playing with an
interactive model. Again, interactive models are not bad. They can
be utterly necessary and it's never bad to have for testing
purposes. That's primarily what I've used interactive models for.

I like to think of it as the blueprints and the 3D model that
architects use. One cannot imagine a skyscraper being built only
from a 3D model. Blueprints are very valuable reference documents,
which can and should contain minute details.

Also, and this mostly applies to consultants, but if you're working
on a large variety of products or services, perhaps built on entirely
different platforms, operating systems, or devices, it's highly
efficient to use print documentation to specify the Interaction
Design.

Print documentation is also easy to collaborate with, since documents
can be marked up and written on. My own consulting was often based on
iterative one or two-week design and documentation cycles, culminating
in a master aggregation and refinement process to produce the final,
large design specification document.

Templates? Well that's where this is an interesting question for
me. Looking at my documentation, it's easy to see a general, mostly
graphic design kind of format that I used, but that's pretty much
where my templating stopped.

I never was able to be happy with tools like Omnigraffle, etc.,
because I always wanted to move things around and pack in information
with my own flow lines. For that reason, I've used Adobe Illustrator
and Photoshop for many years. Back in the 1980s it was MacPaint and
then SuperPaint (which was an awesomely efficient and integrated tool
for pixels and vectors, though was based on QuickDraw rather than
Postscript).

I'm always happy to share my many printed specification documents
with others (when we're together), but their sheer size (many the
size of small phone books), are rather hard to share electronically.

I do have some photos and samples from some of my projects and their
specification documents up in my 2005 slideshow here:

http://www.orbitnet.com/iasummit2005/iasummit2005.html

Bear in mind that when you see two or three pages of specs from one
of those projects, there are probably a hundred or more additional
pages.

Interaction Design specification documents almost always covered the
following:

1) An up-front encapsulation of features

2) Hierarchical or interrelational maps or diagrams of the system

3) Interaction flow diagrams (with varying degrees of fidelity from
wireframes to full screenshots). These would also have a lot of
descriptive text and callouts for explaining and directing.

4) Full-scale/resolution state screens (when appropriate)

5) An index of all individual implementable graphic resources, along
with location coordinates (if necessary) and behavioral documentation.

One thing that my approach to documentation has made possible over
the past decades is very close, if not perfect implementation of my
spec. And this is why I continue to see my own approach to
Interaction Design as that of an architect.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=32403

28 Aug 2008 - 6:56pm
aschechterman
2004

Jamie, OmniGraffle as well . . .
http://www.omnigroup.com/applications/omnigraffle. Then again, I'm still
guilty of using Hypercard . . . http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HyperCard.

:::::

Andrew Schechterman, PhD

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/andrewschechterman

E-mail: aschechterman at gmail dot com

Phone: 1-303-886-2440

:::::

On Thu, Aug 28, 2008 at 4:45 PM, allison <alliwalk1980 at yahoo.com> wrote:

> Jamie, have you tried/used Visio? Besides it's general ubiquity, I
> guess I don't see the benefit of PowerPoint...
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=32403
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

4 Sep 2008 - 2:37pm
mark ahlenius
2008

Hi Uday,

hope you are doing well.

Seeing this topic brought up and old issue from my days at Mot. One of
the means which I used to document a VUI was a Visio spec format which I
came up with - to show the complete dialog spec. This of course is
always a challenge with error legs, options, etc. We had a pretty
decent way to show when different grammars were to be loaded, prompts,
GUI prompts etc. One challenge is how to best document a multimodal
VUI+GUI (or +touch) application. What means have you used for these
types of apps? By multimodal, I mean the capability to start the app in
one modality, switch to the other - like starting off in voice, adding
something via the GUI (or touch) and perhaps finishing the next app
state in voice, etc. That is an interesting problem and have not seen
any "standard" way of capturing that design info.

Please give my regards to Ali - I hope they are able to open up the reqs
sometime.

best,

'mark

, Uday Gajendar wrote:
> Yep I totally agree. That would be awesome! We're suffering from
> massive spec fatigue with different flavors for the different teams,
> etc. Having a "blessed" format would be helpful on many levels!
>
> Also as part of that perhaps achieving some coherence on best
> practices to review, update, disseminate such specs with non-design
> partners (like QA, dev, back-end, etc.). Not to mention primer lessons
> for those folks to read and interpret UI specs, setting their
> expectations on level of detail, type of content, etc.
>
> Anyway, count me in...
>
> Uday Gajendar
> Sr. Interaction Designer
> Voice Technology Group
> Cisco | San Jose
> ------------------------------
> ugajenda at cisco.com
> +1 408 902 2137
>
> On Aug 27, 2008, at 5:05 PM, Andrei Herasimchuk wrote:
>
>> I've always felt interface designers lack a good means to spec their
>> work. A "blessed" format that comes from the industry would go a long
>> ways towards bringing even more creditability to the profession as a
>> whole.
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

20 Apr 2010 - 6:17am
orbi
2009

Hi all,

Just coming accross this now on my search for documentation on UI specifications. Interesting comments from all I wonder If we could get organised to create an open scource document for this, this could possibly be the start of a series of open scource documents for the UI/ UX professional? If you are interested in collaborating please shout and I will give you directions. We can distribute the documentation freely from there.

 

20 Apr 2010 - 10:20am
Alissa Vizirova
2009

Orbi, I would love to have access to such a library. thx.

On Tue, Apr 20, 2010 at 11:08 AM, orbi <brady_rich@msn.com> wrote:

Hi all,

Just coming accross this now on my search for documentation on UI specifications. Interesting comments from all I wonder If we could get organised to create an open scource document for this, this could possibly be the start of a series of open scource documents for the UI/ UX professional? If you are interested in collaborating please shout and I will give you directions. We can distribute the documentation freely from there.

 

(
20 Apr 2010 - 12:00pm
Michelle Bacigalupi
2009

I would be interested in this. I am about to start what I call a style guide for a small start up that is about to double in size. I am the only UX person and need this to scale so engineers have a resource when I'm not available. It is meant to be a guide not marching orders. Regards,Michelle

On Tue, Apr 20, 2010 at 7:59 AM, orbi <brady_rich@msn.com> wrote:

Hi all,

Just coming accross this now on my search for documentation on UI specifications. Interesting comments from all I wonder If we could get organised to create an open scource document for this, this could possibly be the start of a series of open scource documents for the UI/ UX professional? If you are interested in collaborating please shout and I will give you directions. We can distribute the documentation freely from there.

 

(
20 Apr 2010 - 4:44pm
fj
2010

I think we could start with some tools and documents collected at the IA Institute. I have used some templates from them.

http://iainstitute.org/library/resourcePage.php?id=7&filterLanguage=

20 Apr 2010 - 6:20pm
Maria Ercilia G...
2009

Sent from my iPhone

On Apr 20, 2010, at 20:01, fj wrote:

> I think we could start with some tools and documents collected at
> the IA Institute. I have used some templates from them. > > http://iainstitute.org/library/resourcePage.php?id=7&filterLanguage= > >

20 Apr 2010 - 11:10am
LuckyMethod
2010

I would be more than willing to help with the effort of creating an open source repository of templates.

How do we want to proceed with this?

20 Apr 2010 - 1:20pm
krishnaprasad
2007

I can offer some help! - mobile ui specs - software ui specs

Sent from iPhone

On 20 Apr 2010, at 20:07, LuckyMethod wrote:

> I would be more than willing to help with the effort of creating an
> open source repository of templates. > > How do we want to proceed with this? > >

21 Apr 2010 - 8:54am
orbi
2009

Great to hear, I will have a look at some options and get back to you all promptly.

Anyone else interested in contributing please post here and ill keep you all in the loop.

Orbi

21 Apr 2010 - 3:30pm
aniket
2010

I will be interested in helping create these templates.. keep me in the loop :)   Aniket.

On Wed, Apr 21, 2010 at 9:08 AM, orbi <brady_rich@msn.com> wrote:

Great to hear, I will have a look at some options and get back to you all promptly.

Anyone else interested in contributing please post here and ill keep you all in the loop.

Orbi

(
22 Apr 2010 - 2:05am
Monique_r
2010

I'm also very interested in this topic.

28 Apr 2010 - 5:23pm
orbi
2009

OK, I’ve had a look around at a number of collaboration tools and the pros and cons for a documentation project like this and I think the best bet would be Media Wiki from http://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/MediaWiki This is not the most beautiful and I suppose slightly ironically has a poor UI but this has the tools we need to collaborate on the task.
I will get some space, set it up on a server, test it and let you all know where it is.
I am in the middle of setting up a new design department so as you can imagine time is at a premium but I will set myself the target of having it all up and running for this day next week. Fingers crossed the time/ server/ hosting gods are in good favour.
This should be a very interesting project and I'm looking forward to contributing the lessons I've learned over the years as well as hearing from others.
Cheers
Orbi
If anyone has any experience with Adobe Buzzword please drop me an email as I am still looking at this one as a possible next step.
Also if anyone wants list of the tools I’ve looked at please mail me.


5 May 2010 - 5:02pm
orbi
2009

Hi all,
I've had mixed results with media wiki, after much database PHP and hosting wrestling the integration of a discussion board just made the technology too complicated to be practical.
I’m going back to evaluating different software for this project, I think it’s important to spend the extra time now to get a tech that works.
In the mean time here is what I’m thinking of for the structure.
1.    An area to create and directly edit a collaborative document
2.    An area to discuss the contents of the documents, be it inline commenting or a discussion section.
3.    An area to submit any completed UI spec documents you may have (as long as they don’t belong to a company who hasn’t given permission)
Happy to hear your thoughts in the meantime, thanks for your emails there are some talented individuals interested in collaborating on this so the sooner I can get this up and running the better.
Rich.

17 May 2010 - 4:54pm
orbi
2009

I havent forgotten about this project, I dont want to keep spamming you with every small update. There are a supprisingly large ammount of rubbish collaborative tools out there :) I will contact all when i get somthing up and going. 

Rich

18 May 2010 - 12:01pm
penguinstorm
2005

Having admined a couple of rapidly growing Wikis, I'm definitely of the opinion that Media Wiki has major shortcomings. It's popular and well supported, but the Wiki syntax is difficult to learn and teaching "average" users to do much more than edit text is challenging to say the least.

Why they didn't adopt Textile or Markdown for a syntax will forever remain a mystery to me. Whoever made the decision to have three single quotes be italics and two single quotes be bold (or is that backwards?) should be condemned to suffer for an eternity.

37Signal's backpack is a nice collaboration tool, easier to use and it's sold on a subscription model. it may not offer the features you're looking for (I don't think it can be skinned) but its ease of use is very good. I've no affiliation with them other than having been a happy user of their products.

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