Methods for Documenting RIAs

9 Jan 2009 - 4:54pm
5 years ago
11 replies
1338 reads
isaacw
2009

Greetings (my first post)!

As we continue to adopt asynchronous models of interaction (AJAX,
Flex/AIR, etc), documenting these has become much more complex and
dynamic. Would anyone mind sharing ideas or links?

So far, the best I've heard has been to rely more upon Wireframes and
Prototypes to communicate rich interaction -- however these still
feel insufficient for some reason...
http://assets.en.oreilly.com/1/event/16/Rich%20UX%20Documentation%
20Presentation.ppt

-isaacw

Comments

10 Jan 2009 - 8:43am
milan
2005

In my experience there are two very good ways to prototype that:
- using a paper prototype, and the computer (a human) simulates all rich
interactions, so you have a lot more flexibility to get all the
interface states you want. you may document that in a series of videos
as a walkthrough.
- using flash or another interactive animation technology, if you have
the time and resources needed to do that. flash makes it easy to
simulate things like drag&drop or dynamic lists via pre-built interface
components and the ability to code "quick & dirty".

milan

> As we continue to adopt asynchronous models of interaction (AJAX,
> Flex/AIR, etc), documenting these has become much more complex and
> dynamic. Would anyone mind sharing ideas or links?

--
milan guenther * interaction design
||| | | |||| || |||||||| | || | ||

+33 6 67 11 13 83 * www.guenther.cx

10 Jan 2009 - 3:07pm
Fred Beecher
2006

On Fri, Jan 9, 2009 at 3:54 PM, Isaac Weinhausen <me at isaacw.com> wrote:

> Greetings (my first post)!
>
> As we continue to adopt asynchronous models of interaction (AJAX, Flex/AIR,
> etc), documenting these has become much more complex and dynamic. Would
> anyone mind sharing ideas or links?
>

Hi Issac,

The way I do it is through a prototyping/documentation tool called Axure. I
randomly discovered it just as AJAX, etc. was starting to become big. And
for that, I am incredibly grateful. It has allowed me to become a more
effective designer.

For me, prototyping serves two purposes, design refinement and
communication. With a larger palette of possible interactions than the
traditional click >> page, I need to ensure that the interactions I design
are intuitable. Although there are those who will argue this point with me,
I find paper prototyping (especially when doing remote testing) to fall a
little flat when it comes to these rich applications.

The other purpose, communication, is equally important. I need to
communicate with business stakeholders, users, creatives, developers,
business analysts, etc. about how a system will work. Showing is *always*
better than telling. This is even more true when you throw dynamic
interactions into the mix.

While Axure was the first tool like this I was exposed to, I've stuck with
it because for me it remains the best. It allows you to output copiously
annotated printed documentation from your prototype, and you can generate an
interactive prototype that allows users to access those annotations. This is
really great for Agile developers who are paper-phobic.

Go to http:\\www.axure.com\ for more info and a free trial.

I hope that's helpful!

Take care,
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

10 Jan 2009 - 8:54pm
Jared M. Spool
2003

On Jan 10, 2009, at 8:43 AM, Milan Guenther wrote:

> - using a paper prototype, and the computer (a human) simulates all
> rich
> interactions, so you have a lot more flexibility to get all the
> interface states you want. you may document that in a series of videos
> as a walkthrough.

A stop-motion video of a paper prototype can be really effective. Once
scripted, they are quick to film and edit.

Think: http://commoncraft.com/video-wikis-plain-english

Jared

10 Jan 2009 - 10:30pm
DampeS8N
2008

Just don't fall into the trap of building it out in the language it
will be built in. Clients see something 'working' and instantly
think 'almost done' rather than 'not yet started'.

Begin the precedent and un-training a client becomes more and more
impossible.

Better to draw on a napkin than to prototype quick-and-dirty with the
same tool the final item will be done in.

Even flash is a bad idea for an Ajax site, because clients see a
browser and think 'almost done'. Avoid it. At all costs.

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Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=37032

11 Jan 2009 - 3:45am
Yohan Creemers
2008

For me prototyping and design documentation are two very different
things. I use the first for testing ideas, the second for
communicating design decisions / considerations / motivation.

The possibilities of AJAX are great for the web, but nothing new for
desktop software. For specification of (rich) interaction I use State
Transition Diagrams (or Statecharts), part of UML. It's supported by
tools as Visio and ConceptDraw - and more important: it's widely
understood by software developers.

- Yohan

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Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=37032

11 Jan 2009 - 5:09am
Adrian Howard
2005

On 11 Jan 2009, at 01:54, Jared Spool wrote:

>
> On Jan 10, 2009, at 8:43 AM, Milan Guenther wrote:
>
>> - using a paper prototype, and the computer (a human) simulates all
>> rich
>> interactions, so you have a lot more flexibility to get all the
>> interface states you want. you may document that in a series of
>> videos
>> as a walkthrough.
>
> A stop-motion video of a paper prototype can be really effective.
> Once scripted, they are quick to film and edit.
>
> Think: http://commoncraft.com/video-wikis-plain-english

I've had good results with just filming folk poking the paper around
with their fingers. Good enough to get the point across.

Adrian

11 Jan 2009 - 10:00am
Jared M. Spool
2003

On Jan 9, 2009, at 4:54 PM, Isaac Weinhausen wrote:

> As we continue to adopt asynchronous models of interaction (AJAX,
> Flex/AIR, etc), documenting these has become much more complex and
> dynamic. Would anyone mind sharing ideas or links?

I've recorded a podcast with James Box and Richard Rutter from
Clearleft on exactly this topic. It's in production now and I suspect
we'll have it out in the next few weeks.

(James and Richard are teaching a full-day workshop on this at the UIE
Web App Summit in April: http://cli.gs/TA1J1M.)

As soon as the podcast is released, I'll pop you a note.

Jared

Jared M. Spool
User Interface Engineering
510 Turnpike St., Suite 102, North Andover, MA 01845
e: jspool at uie.com p: +1 978 327 5561
http://uie.com Blog: http://uie.com/brainsparks Twitter: jmspool
UIE Web App Summit, 4/19-4/22: http://webappsummit.com

11 Jan 2009 - 5:30pm
Chad Vavra
2008

I too use Axure to prototype, but not as much for its interaction but
rather for the ability to easily create functional specs. To that
point, I find it very powerful for our development teams
understanding of my thoughts, but not as important for discussions
with the client.

Like William, I think that the lower fidelity the prototype the
greater the communication and understanding through that
communication with the client.

In my experience the most valuable tool is the idea and your ability
to convey it verbally, not Axure, not Flash, AJAX, Rails, or a #2
pencil and napkin. With a good idea, a whiteboard, and a involved
client you should be able to go straight to wireframes and
prototyping. Less than 50% of the time do I need to show my clients
wireframes at all if we've had the proper up front time.

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Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=37032

12 Jan 2009 - 2:01am
Dan Saffer
2003

Over three years ago, Ryan Freitas put together this presentation on
Beyond Wireframes:

<http://www.adaptivepath.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2006/11/ap_beyond_wireframes.pdf
>

Enjoy.

Dan

12 Jan 2009 - 9:02am
Nicholas Iozzo
2007

I am giving a talk on just this topic at Interactions 09. I have
worked on a technique over the past 4 years for doing just this. It
has been in use and tweaked within an environment where development
and QA is split between on-shore and off-shore.

Many of the points raised in this thread are valid approaches. The
best approach is the one that fits your project's team dynamics.

If your team requires you to design interactions where explicit
documentation is critical and if you want to design complex
interactions that are beyond your skills to prototype, then the
method I will be presenting will work for you.

Come to Vancouver and attend the session. I would be happy to go into
this technique in more detail with anyone over the course of the
weekend.

http://interaction09.crowdvine.com/talks/show/2638

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Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=37032

12 Jan 2009 - 1:25pm
Jakub Linowski
2008

If there are more interesting document samples anyone is willing to
share on this topic, I'd love to publish them over at Wireframes
Magazine http://wireframes.linowski.ca.

All the best,
Jakub

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Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=37032

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