I faces the same problem too and much worse.
Wonder if some one has any guide to in setting up proper work flow
process and especially documentations (ideally it shoulnt be too long
as it discourages people from filling it up)
My GUI/UI department (relatively new) is still trying to work out a
proper process internally. Hope some one can shed some light!
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Posted from the new ixda.org
Sounds like the company you work in really needs to have a
User-Centered design Process - or at least some sort of process that
includes requirements that are actually documented.
It sounds like a serious development process problem. There are many
good books on the subject of integrating design into the development
process by folks like Cooper, Mayhew, Constantine & Lockwood, Garrett
and others; but they all make a similar recommendation that is key:
start with a small project.
Don't try and change the whole corporate culture at once - pick a
fairly self contained project (a new offering, a stand alone feature,
etc. - preferably something that is slightly off the radar) and do it
the right way from beginning to end.
Do the up front user research, sketch, prototype, test, iterate, and
spec. Get the whole team involved in UCD: PM, QA, Documentation and
Engineering - even if each of those "teams" have just one person on
them. All involved should have some exposure to user research,
prototyping and testing. Not that they need to do the work, but they
should understand what is going on, see the benefits first hand, and
feel they have direct input into the process.
With any luck, at the end you will have a successful product and a
handful of UCD converts at the end of the project, and you build from
I've been in a similar position at several other companies.
Engineering dominance is still extremely prevalent in the industry.
It's characterized by a "code first - fix later" mentality. If
they can be shown there is a better way most people will make the
change, but it will take effort and time - and small steps.
The Senior Interaction Designers and I have created a system where we
order our project process by the 6 Cooper Steps.
What I've done, especially with the latest HUGE project I'm working
on, is to work backwards. Sounds strange, but imagine the finished
design, even if it's just a box on a visio or powerpoint wireframe
This way, you can start from the simplest part and work backwards.
The completed product is the top of the informational pyramid and you
add all the detail/complexity as part of the Cooper process.
This seems to be working right now, and thank goodness for that,
because my team and I have 15 work days to create a very complex form
The talk I gave at Interactions 09 may be relevant to this topic. The
subject was how to document complex business logic and rich
This is one way to begin to extract the knowledge from the heads of
your developers and maintain in a framework which you can manage,
control, and use to create future work products.
BAsed on the feedback I have received after the talk, I am now
working on a more accessible version of this to share with the
community and to do it in such a way where we can all build upon it
and improve upon it.
More to come,
This sounds very familiar. The company I work in is really engineering
heavy. Even sales and management are engineers. There is not a single
person who is employed as a designer.
I think it is a shame, because its really needed. It is also
unnecessary since at least some engineers really are user oriented
and care about design. Be careful about the engineer stereotype; I
became an engineer at a time when I didn't know that interaction
design existed. And at was only later that I considered it to be a
I'm running a project now, and I want to expose my team to design.
Much in the way that Mike describes. If I have something to add it
would be that you should look for allies.
We are a software development company who recently employed a rather
brilliant contract Information Architect to do some Interaction Design for
I was so impressed by her work that I decided to retrain from programming
and technical communications to IxD, and see if I could shepherd her design
through the product development process rather than letting it gather dust
and irrelevance in a filing cabinet.
As suggested earlier on this thread, I think my first steps are to form
alliances with her original sponsors, which in turn requires me to develop a
plausible plan for integrating her design, and IxD in general, into our
Scrum-based development process. I'm currently looking at ways of
introducing cheap, early usability testing as a way of keeping design in
Anyone got any useful experiences or suggestions?