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Prototyping Information Architecture


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A talk I gave for World IA Day in Bristol in 2013 describing how the way I have worked has changed dramatically over the years and how I've moved from abstraction to the concreteness of prototypes.

Published in: Design
  • Yes. This is has been my experience.

    I have found that working on a recent 'could be dull' payments project involving multiple suppliers has been made MUCH easier using a combination of low and high fidelity prototypes. In the first instance, a prototype allows the UXD/IA to soak up requirements and explore technical constraints. The second stage allow for the development of a refined UI design that takes both constraints and requirements into account.
    Where a document review renders most stakeholders listless and bored, a prototype walkthrough will usually provoke a steady stream of comments and queries - all of which can be captured and used when designing the next iteration.
    With regard to what means are used to develop the prototype - yes HTML could be seen as the best option, but Axure can be a great tool in the right hands.
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  • Really good and totally agree. For IAs, given that we deal with the interplay of information, the need to prototype goes deeper even than interface-level interaction design. We should also be roughing up database tables that express the relationships between our concepts, and surfacing that through the UI.
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  • Great deck Leisa, I particularly like the slide 'strategy lives in delivery' so true
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Prototyping Information Architecture

  1. 1. P ROTOT Y P I N G I A World IA Day, Feb 2013 Leisa Reichelt @leisa
  2. 2. In the olden days...
  3. 3. ABSTRACTION (I)hurts people’s brains
  4. 4. ABSTRACTION (II) is hard to care about
  5. 5. ABSTRACTION (III)requires your best ideas when you know the least
  6. 6. problem solving is squiggly
  7. 7. HOW I WORK NOW- get a multidisciplinary team quickly, let them contribute. - sketch to HTML, stay out of photoshop - real content, prototype/testing content - multiple prototypes (test lots of ideas, don’t commit) - quickly test both qualitative and ‘active’ use - let stakeholders ‘touch’ your ideas - iterate, the more quickly to learn more. - only document what you really need to.
  8. 8. WHO I DO THIS WITH: - start ups - large, tech conservative organisations- large, security conservative governments (so, basically, anyone)
  9. 9. HOW I GET TO DO THIS? just ask.‘this is the way I like to work. it works well. can we try it?’
  11. 11. BE MAKING NOTDOCUMENTING what does it feel like?
  12. 12. DON’T WORK ALONE a small team is best -you (UX/IA)- 1 or 2 FE Developers (UX Developers?) - Content Prototyper - BA / Project Mgr - Visual/Graphic Designer - 1 or two Back End Dev
  13. 13. PROTOTYPING CHANGE making it new things less scary
  14. 14. SHOW DON’T TELLa design principle AND a way of working
  15. 15. EXPERIMENT IMMEDIATELYembrace experimentation design with data
  16. 16. HTMLPROTOTYPING say no to Axure.
  17. 17. CONTENTPROTOTYPING content is crucial.experiment with content
  18. 18. STRUCTURING CONTENT winning with a CMS
  19. 19. WHAT’S MY DELIVERABLE? how to document a prototype
  20. 20. CONCEPTUAL MODELSa little bit of abstraction is sexy
  21. 21. PROTOTYPESare PERSUASIVEexcite your stakeholders
  22. 22. MOMENTUMcreate the impression of progress
  23. 23. STRATEGY LIVES IN DELIVERY not in meetings
  24. 24. THIS MEANS YOU. find a way to be squiggly.
  25. 25. HAVE FUN :)warning: prototyping may be addictive
  26. 26. THANK YOU. @leisa
  27. 27. IMAGE CREDITS flow/#.URVQZ6X5OkI otherwise, images are my own.