Interaction Design Process and Deliverables

16 Oct 2011 - 9:43am
4 years ago
6 replies
3344 reads

What is your interaction design process and what are the deliverables you focus on?


17 Oct 2011 - 9:34am
Matt Nish-Lapidus


A focus on deliverables is kind of the wrong question... I don't think we should be focused on any deliverable other than the final product, everything else is just process. We've been having this discussion a lot lately both here at Normative and online (see my conversation with @ifenn and others on Twitter last week...)

My design process is very loose, but generally goes:

- Definition (understanding business and/or client)

- Research (can be anything from field research to just reading)

- Sketching (generate and explore possibilities in some form)

- Refinement (choosing from the possibilities and refining them by making detailed drawings, prototypes, or other things based on the needs of the projects)

- Detailed Prototype (paper, code, documentation, physical thing.. depends on goals)

- Final Product (ideally working with engineering and "manufacturing" in whatever form that takes to product final product)

At any one of those stages we will "deliver" something to our client.. often that's not a traditional deliverable. We work with them, show work in progress often, have structured workshops, and ask them to help us make specific decisions and choices at each step. Each interaction with stakeholders or clients should help them understand the work being done and why decisions were made, no matter what form that takes. What they get in the end is some form of the final product.

Obviously, this is the ideal and it doesn't always work out that way. Sometimes we still have to deliver formal documentation (i.e. wireframes, style guide, etc), but we're trying to move away from that. It largely depends on the comfort of our clients. As they become more comfortable with us and our approach they rely less on formal deliverables. 

The real question is what are we trying to accomplish with specific deliverables? Is it to communicate some aspect of the design? To make our client comfortable with progress? To help our client look good with their boss or team? To explore and understand something about the design or problem? There are many things, and each of these needs different types of documents or deliverables… The most important thing is to understand why you're making something and to make it work for that reason.


17 Oct 2011 - 9:42am

Thanks a lot Matt. My apologies. I am starting out in Interaction Design and I dont have the privelage to join a design school. I have been working for a year and half now. Technically I am very sound (HTML5 css3 js and stuff). But I am very curious and want to learnt the design process and concpets. Your answer was very helpful. Would you please suggest me any book/online reference/training course which would help me grow in this field? I am just 22 now and have a lot of ground to cover. Please reply :)

18 Oct 2011 - 3:25pm
Julie Blitzer

There are two books I'd recommend that help on process & deliverables:

There isn't one formal process that all UX designers follow. Matt's description is a good high-level overview of the general process involved. What specific kind of research or deliverables you produce will vary with the kind of design challenge or question your project is responding to.

18 Oct 2011 - 4:09pm
Matt Nish-Lapidus

Julie's recommendations are a great place to start. Communicating Design is a really good book about specific document types. 

I would recommend trying to get a good foundation in design more generally. Jon Kolko's new book about design synthesis is excellent for understanding some of the more nebulous aspects of design. 

18 Oct 2011 - 10:03pm

Thanks a lot Matt and Julie. I will get these books right away.

29 Feb 2012 - 3:36am

Matt & Julie... Thanks a lot...your suggestions were quite helpful and I have definately gone up in this. Thanks a lot :)

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