> I'm interested at what point in the process we should make a decision on > what technology should be used. Sure there's a big "it depends", but > generally there is a hiatus point in the process where design cannot > continue unless technology constraints are considered.
Our process has worked quite well. We have an interaction designer and
information architect conduct user interviews (we prefer contextual
inquiry, but are sometimes limited to phone conversations due to
budget constraints) and competitive analysis. From there, we develop
and scenarios. From the scenarios, we can extrapolate the features our
users will want/need/use.
With the feature list in hand, we meet with the Tech Lead and Business
Analyst to review the proposed features. We're not looking for
feedback on feasibility or budgetary constraints at this point--we
just want to communicate the purpose and need for each feature.
The Tech Lead takes the feature list back for review as does the
Business Analyst. The BA examines the features that are important to
the business, and the Tech Lead reviews the features that are easiest
to implement. Meanwhile, the IxD and IA are busy prioritizing the
features based on user wants/needs.
During this prioritization phase, the Tech Lead should be consulting
with his team to best determine what technology should be used or how
best to extend an existing technology.
Once everyone is finished, we meet and compare our prioritizations.
There is a lot of negotiation during this review process--and even
some heated arguments, but it works because everyone is involved in
the planning process. You virtually eliminate project sabotage from
the tech side and are able to generate management buy-in.