So sooner or later, any designer working in the professional arena doing client work will start thinking about process. What are the actual steps you go through to get to a successful outcome? Are those steps always the same? (Most design gurus would like you to think as much.) Is there one true IA process? Some attempts were made during the summit to answer these questions, most notably during the process panel lead by my colleague Peter Boersma. This got a bit stuck in discussions on how the panellists’ companies developed and managed their process and not so much into the practicalities of their respective processes. A shame.
The second day of the summit was kicked off with a wireframes panel. Wireframes are maybe the most produced deliverable by many an IA. Deliverables are a natural fit to process, which usually consists of a description of activities, roles and artefacts.
Both RUP and Agile were frequently-used terms with a memorable observation by one of the people present that during their lifetime companies seam to fluctuate between big scary processes and loose small workflows. It’s clear that any design shop adopting RUP will need to slim it down and add a much-needed user centred design component. Agile sounds cool and exciting but really only is fit for a certain type of client (a fearless one).
On the deliverables side, it struck me again how poorly we as designers are equipped to model our intended architectures in such a way that clients get it and developers can pick it up and build it. Who will fill this void?
This is the third post on themes spotted during the Euro IA Summit 2006. The first post was on strategy, the second on social search. Other posts will be on involving the client and accessibility. My first post-summit post can be found here.