Lecture Notes: Week 3 » The Interactive Design Process Overview

Posted on March 19, 2011

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Week three’s lecture is split up into two parts the first part deals with the different stages of the design process and the second part talks about user persona, artifact persona and scenarios.

Part 01 – The Interactive Design Process Overview

Sarah Waterson presents us with a diagram that outlines the many stages that are involved with the design process. One of the first stages is referred to as ‘Pre-project’ which basically acts as a design brief where the clients need/proposal, schedule, budget is addressed.

Concept and Planning is involved with the goals, messages and audience of the project. The most important part of this stage is to get the client to develop their goals and messages for the project. Proof of concept is also important at this stage as it helps visualize the purpose of the project.

Stage three of the design process is Design Prototype and Specification, which is the most intense part of the process. This stage requires creativity, coordination and inspiration. As the name suggests, this phase of the project will require many prototypes or examples to be developed most of which will be sketches. Normally interface designers and design engineers work together on the prototypes but there may be times where the interface designers must create the interface first and then pass it on to the engineers. User testing is also carried out during this phase and is probably one of the most important steps because it will reveal whether or not the design meets the need of the audience. It also helps to establish any potential problems that need to be fixed.

The production stage of the process is really all about creating the final product. If the audience or goals of the project change dramatically during this phase, then designers may need to go back to the Concept and Planning stage therefore it is important to get the previous two stage right the first time around (concept and planning and design prototype and specification).

After the actual production, the project needs to enter into the Testing stage. This stage isn’t about user testing, but about quality control and making sure the design works in all browsers, no links are broken and that everything is working to highest standard.

The final stage is the Launch and Maintenance phase, which sees the release of the project. It is also the stage where regular updates or maintenance is carried out.

The following diagram illustrates the Interactive Design process as a series of layers. From this diagram we can see that the Visual Design of a project is the last layer or last stage of the project. The first step is to identify user needs and site objects.

What I learnt from the first part of the lecture is that it’s important to firstly identify the audience’s needs and also the clients goals and purpose for the project before proceeding onto the production part of the design process. If we do not answers all the questions in the Concept and Planning stage, we may need to come back to it during the production stage which may waste a lot of time. Another significant thing to take into consideration is the testing of the product and making sure it is user-tested to identify any potential problems and again to see if the design meets audience’s needs.

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Posted in: Lecture Notes