Deliverables and Documentation

Design organizations inevitably run across the debate of Visio versus HTML wireframes. The decision for one over the other is never a clear-cut one since, as with all things IA-related, it depends. This article seeks to sort out the issues by describing the pros and cons of each and identifying situations where one may be more effective than the other.

How do you prove your worth to clients in today’s difficult economy? Performed as part of a sales proposal or the discovery phase of a project, a site assessment can uncover opportunities for improvement and help you speak knowledgeably about solutions to your potential client’s problems.

Mention the use of HTML for wireframing or prototyping, and some information architects and interaction designers frantically look for the nearest exit. In some circles, HTML has acquired the reputation of being a time-consuming, difficult undertaking best left to developers. This is very far from the truth.

So, you’ve read the article, “HTML Wireframes and Prototypes: All Gain and No Pain” and now want you want to make an HTML wireframe or prototype. This an easy and pain-free process, using Macromedia Dreamweaver 4.0. Follow this step-by-step guide and you’ll be up and prototyping in a jiffy.

Held up as a trio of “must have” books for the Information Architect, Tufte’s books are the quintessential resource for information design. But many IAs may wonder how Tufte’s principles can be applied to their daily work. Dan Brown offers three lessons from Tufte.

Defining requirements and features can be a daunting task under the best of circumstances. The Vision Prototype allows the user-centered vision to be seen—and discussed—by all team members and then easily translated into a set of functional requirements.

PowerPoint: the software we love to hate. Has there been any other software since the dawn of the personal computer that has earned so much criticism? The question at hand is not, “Does PowerPoint suck?” The answer to that, as we all know, is yes. The question is, in fact, “For information architects, does PowerPoint suck?” Or, more to the point, “Even though PowerPoint sucks, should I use it for my deliverables?”

No column on information architecture deliverables would be complete without at least some mention of tools. Dan Brown offers three tips on using Visio, Microsoft’s diagramming application, that should make your life easier and more efficient.

There are several important factors to consider when you are planning to do prototyping for user testing. You will want to make careful choices about fidelity, level of interactivity and the medium of your prototype. Chris Farnum offers descriptions and best use scenarios to help you make the best prototype decision for your tests.

In 1949, Herbert Bayer, the Austrian graphic designer who taught at the famed Bauhaus, embarked on an incredible information design challenge. The “World Geo-Graphic Atlas” (1953) is a benchmark example of information design, fusing vibrant data-intensive displays with a strong multicultural and environmental message.

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