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Friday 03|30|01

In an effort to contribute to the growing collection of information about practicing IA and User Experience design, I am starting to create PDF files of artifacts and information from my experience. Much like Jesse James Garrett's information architecture resources, I will eventually collect this info in one spot.

The first item to share:
A Large Project Process(PDF file, 25k): This diagram visualizes the project process cycle that my User Experience Design team at AltaVista used when working on new projects. The diagram shows the roles, responsibilities and deliverables for the team across a timeline of sectioned steps in the UE design process.

One of the important things about this diagram, is that we developed this process in conjunction with other cross functional team members. The process also shows the iterative loops and interactions with other main team members - Usability, Product Marketing, HTML and Engineering. There are other groups in the cross functional team, but for the purposes of the design cycle - they are minimal in terms of interaction and influence over the design process.

We found this visualization helpful in defining roles and responsibilities, especially in groups with overlapping skillsets (IA and Usability) and also helpful to upper management to describe the process of collaboration and handoffs. My team consisted of Information Architects, UI designers, Visual designers and Technical Writers. The breadth and depth of our skills and responsibilities is reflected in the main body of this diagram. For some organizations, this center section could be divided into two - with IA separated from design - but I personally feel, and built my group to reflect this, that IA is part of the overall design process and shouldn't necessarily be separated out. (our team experienced this for a couple of months after a reorg and it was a disaster given the skills and talents of the group)

This process diagram does not have any assigned timing to the sections and was intended to be a telescoping process - moving and adjusting depending on the overall product lifecycle.

I believe this diagram (or variations of it) can be a useful tool to the design group in many types and sizes of organizations.

Posted by erin at 12:50 PM | in Information Architecture

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