Workflow software

12 Nov 2004 - 9:16am
9 years ago
5 replies
647 reads
Narey, Kevin
2004

On the back of our recent postings on use-cases, as an accompaniment to
prototypes, I wondered if anyone uses visual workflow software to support
the communication of highly complex prototypes. Does anything out there
exist in this space? Perhaps it is not possible to produce such a piece of
software as it generalises a variable design opportunity?

Thoughts? Ideas?

Kevin

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Comments

12 Nov 2004 - 9:53am
Dave Malouf
2005

> On the back of our recent postings on use-cases, as an
> accompaniment to prototypes, I wondered if anyone uses visual
> workflow software to support the communication of highly
> complex prototypes. Does anything out there exist in this
> space? Perhaps it is not possible to produce such a piece of
> software as it generalises a variable design opportunity?

Kevin, can you give more context to what you mean?
Do you mean, do I use a workflow management tool for the documentation
process, or do I use a visual workflow tool to better communicate my
requirements?

If the latter ... Don't many people use Visio, PPT, or OmniGraffe for that?
If the former, my quick answer is no, but that is b/c we are a small company
and our internal workflow doesn't require that.

-- dave

12 Nov 2004 - 10:46am
Narey, Kevin
2004

Looking at it in retrospect - it was a bit of a Friday afternoon post....

Dave:
>Do you mean, do I use a workflow management tool for the documentation
process, or do I use a visual workflow tool to better communicate my
requirements

I'm trying to combine the two as it's my biggest area of pain on every
project by a long stretch.

As an accompaniment to the prototype I recently spent time on
html/jpg/browser-based annotated scenarios/workflows with navmaps (if the
scenario was overly non-linear). This proved a challenge and was riddled
with holes due to time constraints. I demonstrated over fifty scenarios to
the project team as there were seven security access levels. Fortunately I
was present on the project and the developers used me as document support.

I integrated these scenarios into a browser that sat in the same space as
the prototype. The developer could use the prototype as the user would use
it and, using the workflow scenarios that I provided, could break the
prototype into visual use-cases that mapped to system use-cases composed by
a business/process analyst. I see it as important that the workflows are
provided *with* the prototype as separation can lead to mis-interpretation
by developers.

What I'm asking is: Can I automate this workflow accompaniment by using a
package that can communicate scenario/key-paths through the prototype so
that I can refine/annotate those paths with the detail required to
communicate complex behaviours.

Hope this helps

Kevin

-----Original Message-----
From: David Heller [mailto:dave at ixdg.org]
Sent: 12 November 2004 14:54
To: discuss at interactiondesigners.com
Subject: RE: [ID Discuss] Workflow software

[Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted material.]

> On the back of our recent postings on use-cases, as an
> accompaniment to prototypes, I wondered if anyone uses visual
> workflow software to support the communication of highly
> complex prototypes. Does anything out there exist in this
> space? Perhaps it is not possible to produce such a piece of
> software as it generalises a variable design opportunity?

Kevin, can you give more context to what you mean?
Do you mean, do I use a workflow management tool for the documentation
process, or do I use a visual workflow tool to better communicate my
requirements?

If the latter ... Don't many people use Visio, PPT, or OmniGraffe for that?
If the former, my quick answer is no, but that is b/c we are a small company
and our internal workflow doesn't require that.

-- dave

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This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential
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12 Nov 2004 - 11:32am
Greg Petroff
2004

There are some tricks you can do with visio where you can add custom
properties to elements in your wireframes. When you publish the visio file
as a webpage these properties can be discovered on cntrl-click of the
element in the wireframe in a side bar that visio creates in the webpage.
Its not perfect but it can work. Boxes and Arrows has some nice
documentation on visio strategies. You have to use IE for it to work
however. :(

Gregory Petroff
desk 212 383 4092
mobile 646 387 2841

|---------+----------------------------------------------------------------------->
| | "Narey, Kevin" <Kevin.Narey at Gedas.co.uk> |
| | Sent by: |
| | discuss-interactiondesigners.com-bounces at lists.interactionde|
| | signers.com |
| | |
| | |
| | 11/12/2004 10:46 AM |
| | |
|---------+----------------------------------------------------------------------->
>------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
| |
| To: "'David Heller'" <dave at ixdg.org>, discuss at interactiondesigners.com |
| cc: (bcc: Greg Petroff/SIAC) |
| Subject: RE: [ID Discuss] Workflow software |
>------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

[Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted material.]

Looking at it in retrospect - it was a bit of a Friday afternoon post....

Dave:
>Do you mean, do I use a workflow management tool for the documentation
process, or do I use a visual workflow tool to better communicate my
requirements

I'm trying to combine the two as it's my biggest area of pain on every
project by a long stretch.

As an accompaniment to the prototype I recently spent time on
html/jpg/browser-based annotated scenarios/workflows with navmaps (if the
scenario was overly non-linear). This proved a challenge and was riddled
with holes due to time constraints. I demonstrated over fifty scenarios to
the project team as there were seven security access levels. Fortunately I
was present on the project and the developers used me as document support.

I integrated these scenarios into a browser that sat in the same space as
the prototype. The developer could use the prototype as the user would use
it and, using the workflow scenarios that I provided, could break the
prototype into visual use-cases that mapped to system use-cases composed by
a business/process analyst. I see it as important that the workflows are
provided *with* the prototype as separation can lead to mis-interpretation
by developers.

What I'm asking is: Can I automate this workflow accompaniment by using a
package that can communicate scenario/key-paths through the prototype so
that I can refine/annotate those paths with the detail required to
communicate complex behaviours.

Hope this helps

Kevin

-----Original Message-----
From: David Heller [mailto:dave at ixdg.org]
Sent: 12 November 2004 14:54
To: discuss at interactiondesigners.com
Subject: RE: [ID Discuss] Workflow software

[Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted material.]

> On the back of our recent postings on use-cases, as an
> accompaniment to prototypes, I wondered if anyone uses visual
> workflow software to support the communication of highly
> complex prototypes. Does anything out there exist in this
> space? Perhaps it is not possible to produce such a piece of
> software as it generalises a variable design opportunity?

Kevin, can you give more context to what you mean?
Do you mean, do I use a workflow management tool for the documentation
process, or do I use a visual workflow tool to better communicate my
requirements?

If the latter ... Don't many people use Visio, PPT, or OmniGraffe for that?
If the former, my quick answer is no, but that is b/c we are a small
company
and our internal workflow doesn't require that.

-- dave

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Interaction Design Discussion List
discuss at ixdg.org
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Registered in England no. 1371338

This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential
and it may be privileged.

It is intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to
whom it is addressed.

If you have received this in error, please contact the sender
and delete the material immediately.
**********************************************************************

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12 Nov 2004 - 1:55pm
Pradyot Rai
2004

Narey, Kevin <kevin.narey at gedas.co.uk> wrote:
> What I'm asking is: Can I automate this workflow accompaniment by using a
> package that can communicate scenario/key-paths through the prototype so
> that I can refine/annotate those paths with the detail required to
> communicate complex behaviours.

There is no magic wand tool available. And that is the reason we have
to have right methodology in place. Visio, Illustrator, Freehand or
any other software can do little bit of help/voodoo, but you have to
do the planning and strategizing "knowledge".

Although, what you are wondering is a legitimate area of concern for
Designers working on processes to achieve good quality product.
There's one tool, however, that has tried to integrate few things the
way you want - iRise. I highly recommend everyone "must see" if you
want to validate your design processes, etc. iRise surely offers you a
very well integrated process for design, requirement and development
of user interface. It gives you means to integrate wireframes,
prototypes, workflows, and generates use cases, technical spec.s etc.
The whole 9 yards of Product Management/Design with focus on Designers
mental modal. But, I am NOT endorsing it, since I have not played with
it.

I am also hearing a lot about DOORS/Analyst. My first impression is
that it looks too much like any modeling tool which tech. architects
use., or it can strengthen those stupid Req. Managers. Not so much to
us doing product design. I will figure it out next week, when I meet
Telelogic demo folks. But by then read yourself --
http://www.telelogic.com/download/paper/SystemsEngineeringSandwich.pdf

Now, I am not going to tell you what is a good methodology to achieve
the same utilizing documentation, because, I am scared Ziya will beat
the hell out of me ;-)

:prady

12 Nov 2004 - 5:57pm
Listera
2004

Prady Rai:

> Now, I am not going to tell you what is a good methodology to achieve
> the same utilizing documentation, because, I am scared Ziya will beat
> the hell out of me ;-)

Now, now, I'm in a good mood today.:-)

> There is no magic wand tool available.

True, but you can come close. For HTML-based prototypes, these are your
friends: DOM tree and JavaScript.

You can essentially address all widgets/nodes on a page via JavaScript (on
OSX you can also do much more with AppleScript+CLI). You can also use
various AutoFill plugins for form-based pages to save predefined form
configurations, if you're lazy.

The idea is to have a holding frame/page that lists your scripts/workflows
which can involve going through a variety of pages, auto filling forms,
clicking buttons, selecting listboxes, etc. By varying these scripts, you
change the trajectory and simulate a different path/workflow. So, same HTML
pages, different workflow runs: poor man's magic wand.:-)

Needless to say if you are able to code your prototype with some executable
code in Flash or some other authoring environment, you can create the
illusion of interaction so real that the client will think the app's already
done.:-)

Ziya
Nullius in Verba

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