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Information Architecture

Wireframing with incomplete requirements

The value of wireframing even with incomplete information The task of wireframing in application development, as I’ve come to know it, should begin after user research has been performed, and a complete set of requirements gathered.  But what happens when, for whatever reason, you just don’t have access to user research, or a full set of requirements?  What if all you have are some rather unspecific, vagu
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Fresh paint or new drywall? The cost of changing IA or design mid-project

We software engineers – and our clients – tend to think of visual design as a coat of paint. The arrangement of elements on a screen seems like a purely decorative concern, something that can be applied to the bare walls of an otherwise functional application at the very end of the development process. Anybody who’s ever spent much time coding at the view layer knows differently. If effective visual
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Use a Task Flow to Show “How do I ___?”

Although task flow diagrams (sometimes referred to as interaction flows, process flows or work flows) are a standard in most IA’s toolkits, it can be confusing for those unfamiliar with this particular tool to know when to start diagramming. When...
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Site Maps — Still Needed for Web Apps?

In a previous post, I talked about creating a Use Case Diagram as a means to moving the 60,000’ concept to a level of detail that’ll allow us to begin development. Since that diagram identifies the overall functionality, the team...
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Use Case Diagrams

Projects start off at the 60,000 foot level -- the client wants a widget that allows their users to do X, Y & Z -- and need to be brought down to a level of detail where coding can begin....
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It Starts with the User Story

Having recently been asked about the difference between a use case and a user story, I came up with this explanation: Use cases detail the interactions between an actor and the system in a sequence of steps and are generally...
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Design Pattern 1 – faded breadcrumbs

Design Pattern 1 - faded breadcrumbs Originally uploaded by uuh...clem Preface: in my travels around the interwebs I often encounter a neat interaction design that I use my handy Skitch tool to capture. As of now, they sit there until...
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IA and agility

A friend of mine recently left a position at a supposedly Agile shop where developers wrote code based on raw requirements rather than formal IA. When he described their process to me, I really felt his pain. I can't imagine...
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IA in the age of Ajax

On Monday, Richard F. Cecil of UX Matters published an interesting piece titled Documenting the Design of Rich Internet Applications: A Visual Language for State. In it, he discusses the challenges facing information architects in the Ajax era. Full of...
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On the Benefits and Pitfalls of Competitive Research

Competitive research is part of the design process at Pathfinder. By competitive research, I mean spending time getting to know how others have solved the problems you are confronted with. We do this type of research separately to start both...
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