Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Thoughts on the Redesign Process - The Cartoon Version

No, I'm not bored, I've just wrapped up all of my projects for the semester.

I saw this page and thought it was a very cute way to visually describe the design process. I don't have any Lego men, so I adapted some free icons to do the job.

1. Get the right high-level decision-making organization in place
Their role is thinking about big picture issues, not micromanaging the process or the design.

2. Assemble the Redesign Team
This team may consist of people from several different departments. The team as shown, is made up of roles; one person may play more than one role. Though boundaries may not really exist, I've divided the team into four groups: technical, design, content, and quality.

3. Define High-level Redesign Goals
Ideally, this should be a conversation between the high-level stakeholders and the team leads (project lead, graphic designer, information architect, usability designer, communications specialist, and technical lead). The stakeholders need to communicate the goals and direction for the new Web presence and the team leads need to ask questions and provide feedback from their specific perspectives.

The conversation needs to be focused on eliciting clear direction from the stakeholders while educating them as to best practices and standards on the Web.

The trap at this stage is to begin to micromanage the process before it even starts. Talk should be in general terms, rather than discussing specific design, content or technology issues.

Wrong: "I think that going with an Aqua-style design, but in green, would be best."
"How do you envision the redesign affecting our branding?"

Wrong: "We should have more dropdown menus!"
Right: "One of our top goals is to simplify the interface of the home page and reduce the clutter of links."

Establish Scope, Timeline and Budget
Scope creep will kill you. Avoid it.

5. Establish Standards
Assemble the full redesign team to discuss and establish standards for coding, design, labeling, content, security, accessibility, etc.

6. Do your Homework
Everyone should be involved at some level in this step, but it is most important for the graphic designer, information architect and usability designer to do as much research on trends and best practices as possible.

7. Profile Site Users
Profiling is good. Get your 'user experience' group together (graphic designer, communications specialist, information architect and usability designer) and construct several personas and some scenarios to go with them. This step should start out as a series of 'blue sky' sessions, just exploring the possibilities, but should evolve into a prioritized lists of tasks.

8. Develop & Test Information Architecture(s)
Building off your work with personas and scenarios, begin building out structures and organization...

... and testing them on users using card sorts and wireframes.

9. Develop & Test Visual Designs
Hopefully, you'll have gotten some general design direction from the stakeholders to give you a start.

Show designs to stakeholders and focus groups of users. Refine and repeat until you have final approval.

10. Create and Test a "Protosite"
Probably the smartest thing you'll ever do.

11. Create and Implement Real Site
After fixing all of your mistakes on the protosite, time to build out and test the real thing.

12. Finish Documentation

13. Go Live
14. Plan for Maintenance

I had fun making this. I hope you had fun reading it. I'm sure that there will be more of the motley crew to come.


Patrick said...

Dude, you stole my line!

El Pedro said...

hell to the yes.

Lori said...

Love it, that is hilarious and totally true.

Jake McGowan said...

I love it! Great process, and great characterization of the personalities who drive it. I might have to steal to this to share with some of my client (with full credit to the author, of course...)

James Bake said...

Great post! Love it! Thank you for providing a visual of day to day work in the web department!

Debbie said...

This is just wonderful. Must use it with my webdesign 101 class. Full credit to you naturally