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Defining requirements for 
your next CMS project 
> Anthony D Paul
Who am I… 
› Technical lead at Fathom (end-to-end; 5 years) 
› User experience developer 
› @anthonydpaul
What we'll talk about 
› High-level design process (refresher) 
› Focus on requirements definition 
(importance, context, ...
Theory behind the design process 
Behavior = function(Person, Environment) 
› No control over the person 
› Can identify t...
The more we know 
about our users, the 
more likely we are to 
meet their needs.
High-level interactive process 
Requirements 
Definition 
(info gathering, 
specification 
Production 
(design, 
developme...
High-level interactive process 
Production 
(design, development) 
Delivery 
(training, launch, 
maintenance)
High-level interactive process 
Requirements 
Definition 
(info gathering, 
specification 
Production 
(design, 
developme...
Foundation of the end product 
Design 
Local Architecture 
Global Architecture 
Functionality 
Objectives (users, business...
What does that path look like? 
Derived from: Liz Sanders’ "Co-Creation" 
What it 
ends up being 
What it 
could be
What does that path look like? 
What it 
could be 
Derived from: Liz Sanders’ "Co-Creation"
Foundation of the end product 
Design 
Local Architecture 
Global Architecture 
Functionality 
Objectives (users, business...
3 main components 
Requirements 
Definition 
Audit Processing Spec
3 main components 
Requirements 
Definition 
Ask 
Audit 
Think 
Processing 
Do 
Spec
So, what do these break down into? 
Ask 
Audit 
Think 
Processin 
g 
Do 
Spec 
› (Objectives) 
› Wants & needs (user vs. c...
Tools we use to define them 
Ask 
Audit 
Think 
Processin 
g 
Do 
Spec 
Component Tools 
› (Objectives) 
› Wants & needs (...
Card sort 
› Purpose Determines high-level categorization preferences 
› Method Stacks of paper, sticky notes, 3x5 cards (...
Card sort
Card sort
Make tools 
› Purpose Determine emotional needs, sometimes functionality 
› Method Kit of materials, words, pictures 
› An...
Make tools
Make tools
Personas 
› Purpose Confirm understanding of users (notes for an exam) 
› Method Write a story, add photo, name, motivatio...
Personas
Personas
Usage scenarios 
› Purpose Maps personas to objectives, walks through 
step-by-step actions 
› Method Write ideal (but rea...
Usage scenarios
Usage scenarios
Mood board 
› Purpose High-level look and feel pre-design 
› Method Assemble colors, textures, photos, typefaces, 
adjecti...
Mood board
Mood board
Sitemap (& task flow) 
› Purpose High-level taxonomy, task flows, navigation 
› Method Treed map of content (not necessari...
Sitemap (& task flow)
Sitemap (& task flow)
Wireframes 
› Purpose Local hierarchy, audit 
› Method Non-designed layout of each page 
› Analysis N/A 
› Strengths First...
Wireframes
Wireframes
A/B tests 
› Purpose Prove success of specific deliverable 
› Method Compare two or more versions (isolation vs. side-by-s...
A/B tests
Digital prototype 
› Purpose Prove system before design 
› Method Build site without design (entire or partial) 
› Analysi...
Digital prototype
Digital prototype
Case study 
› International student 
organization 
› Composted content 
› Brand new messaging
Biggest challenges 
› Content audit 
› Many stakeholders/users 
› Sitemap
As a testament to the newly 
organized and optimized content, 
one month after launch saw a 
1200% increase in average dai...
Determining your tools 
› Project size (budget) 
› Personal preference 
› Client need & risk
@anthonydpaul
Gathering and Defining Requirements for Your Next CMS Project
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Gathering and Defining Requirements for Your Next CMS Project

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Presented at the WordPress DC Meetup on 5/17/2011

Anthony Paul of Fathom Creative will be reprising and expanding on his very successful April lightning talk on defining requirements for your next CMS project.

He'll be going into more depth on specific tools, approaches and processes surrounding the requirements gathering and definition for your next CMS project. This includes design, technical and content specification as well as shaping the ideal user experience.

Anthony Paul is technical lead and user experience designer at Fathom Creative. Follow him on Twitter, @anthonydpaul.

Published in: Design
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Gathering and Defining Requirements for Your Next CMS Project

  1. 1. Defining requirements for your next CMS project > Anthony D Paul
  2. 2. Who am I… › Technical lead at Fathom (end-to-end; 5 years) › User experience developer › @anthonydpaul
  3. 3. What we'll talk about › High-level design process (refresher) › Focus on requirements definition (importance, context, parts) › Specific tools and methodologies (purpose, pros/cons, samples) › Case study › Determining tools for you
  4. 4. Theory behind the design process Behavior = function(Person, Environment) › No control over the person › Can identify the behavior › Simply build environment that elicits the desired behavior, right? Lewin’s Equation
  5. 5. The more we know about our users, the more likely we are to meet their needs.
  6. 6. High-level interactive process Requirements Definition (info gathering, specification Production (design, development) Delivery (training, launch, maintenance) Testing
  7. 7. High-level interactive process Production (design, development) Delivery (training, launch, maintenance)
  8. 8. High-level interactive process Requirements Definition (info gathering, specification Production (design, development) Delivery (training, launch, maintenance) Testing
  9. 9. Foundation of the end product Design Local Architecture Global Architecture Functionality Objectives (users, business) TANGIBLE ABSTRACT Derived from: Jesse James Garrett’s "The Elements of User Experience"
  10. 10. What does that path look like? Derived from: Liz Sanders’ "Co-Creation" What it ends up being What it could be
  11. 11. What does that path look like? What it could be Derived from: Liz Sanders’ "Co-Creation"
  12. 12. Foundation of the end product Design Local Architecture Global Architecture Functionality Objectives (users, business) TANGIBLE ABSTRACT
  13. 13. 3 main components Requirements Definition Audit Processing Spec
  14. 14. 3 main components Requirements Definition Ask Audit Think Processing Do Spec
  15. 15. So, what do these break down into? Ask Audit Think Processin g Do Spec › (Objectives) › Wants & needs (user vs. client) › Climate (competition & market) › Content › (Functionality) › Stories (humanity) › Behaviors ($$$) › Global arch. (taxonomy) › Local arch. (hierarchy) › Design
  16. 16. Tools we use to define them Ask Audit Think Processin g Do Spec Component Tools › (Objectives) › Wants & needs (user vs. client) › Climate (competition & market) › Content › (Functionality) › Stories (humanity) › Behaviors ($$$) › Global arch. (taxonomy) › Local arch. (hierarchy) › Design › Surveys & interviews › Card sorting › Make tools (paper prototypes & collages) › Personas › Usage scenarios (task flows) › Mood board › Sitemap › Wireframes › A/B tests › Digital prototypes
  17. 17. Card sort › Purpose Determines high-level categorization preferences › Method Stacks of paper, sticky notes, 3x5 cards (allowing write-ins) › Analysis Put results into outline form or clouds › Strengths Simple, cheap, quick, fun, foundational › Weaknesses Content-centric (not tasks), may vary, surface characteristics (not use)
  18. 18. Card sort
  19. 19. Card sort
  20. 20. Make tools › Purpose Determine emotional needs, sometimes functionality › Method Kit of materials, words, pictures › Analysis Notes for inspiration, tabulated › Strengths Easy, fun, high user involvement, candid › Weaknesses Time consuming, hard to analyze, somewhat expensive
  21. 21. Make tools
  22. 22. Make tools
  23. 23. Personas › Purpose Confirm understanding of users (notes for an exam) › Method Write a story, add photo, name, motivations, etc. › Analysis N/A › Strengths Central reference encourages role-playing, fun, cheap › Weaknesses Somewhat difficult, not quick, contains assumptions
  24. 24. Personas
  25. 25. Personas
  26. 26. Usage scenarios › Purpose Maps personas to objectives, walks through step-by-step actions › Method Write ideal (but real) task flows, identify entrances & exits › Analysis Identify patterns across users, prioritize › Strengths Effective for common actions, auditable › Weaknesses Somewhat difficult, not quick, contains assumptions
  27. 27. Usage scenarios
  28. 28. Usage scenarios
  29. 29. Mood board › Purpose High-level look and feel pre-design › Method Assemble colors, textures, photos, typefaces, adjectives, screenshots › Analysis N/A › Strengths Clear communication, focuses designers, puts users and brand in sync, auditable › Weaknesses Somewhat abstract
  30. 30. Mood board
  31. 31. Mood board
  32. 32. Sitemap (& task flow) › Purpose High-level taxonomy, task flows, navigation › Method Treed map of content (not necessarily pages) › Analysis N/A › Strengths Organized for production, gives scope, auditable › Weaknesses Overwhelming for clients, difficult to strike balance of info
  33. 33. Sitemap (& task flow)
  34. 34. Sitemap (& task flow)
  35. 35. Wireframes › Purpose Local hierarchy, audit › Method Non-designed layout of each page › Analysis N/A › Strengths First visual, tangible, controls scope, testable › Weaknesses Difficult to balance design vs. utility, sometimes requires many pages
  36. 36. Wireframes
  37. 37. Wireframes
  38. 38. A/B tests › Purpose Prove success of specific deliverable › Method Compare two or more versions (isolation vs. side-by-side) › Analysis Scored and tabulated › Strengths Definitive and arguable, quick, easy › Weaknesses Limited to options, can be difficult to assemble/coordinate
  39. 39. A/B tests
  40. 40. Digital prototype › Purpose Prove system before design › Method Build site without design (entire or partial) › Analysis Task assignments, testing protocols, bug tracker › Strengths Both quantity and quality, closest to end product, relevant › Weaknesses Expensive if discarded, similar to wireframes can be hard to explain utility vs. design
  41. 41. Digital prototype
  42. 42. Digital prototype
  43. 43. Case study › International student organization › Composted content › Brand new messaging
  44. 44. Biggest challenges › Content audit › Many stakeholders/users › Sitemap
  45. 45. As a testament to the newly organized and optimized content, one month after launch saw a 1200% increase in average daily page hits (previously averaging 1,200/day, now reaching more than 30,000/day).
  46. 46. Determining your tools › Project size (budget) › Personal preference › Client need & risk
  47. 47. @anthonydpaul

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