Communicating design is crucial - whether it's written or digital. It's mostly about proper documentation. Sounds boring, I know - but it's absolutely critical if you want to be successful in today's digital marketplace. Why? Because design methodologies have changed, the web has changed, we've changed.
Thus, it's time to prepare ourselves for the road ahead. The road where the true professionals know how to Communicate Design clearly and effectively.
Even though this post is a good read for anyone in business today, the tools and terminology within may be foreign to many end-users or non-designers.
You should read this post if you...
- are involved with making or creating deliverables.
- will be using deliverables, as a client or developer within a project.
- are approving deliverables, as a client or stakeholder.
- are new to user experience and looking for ways to improve.
What's a deliverable? I'm glad you asked…
Have you ever sent an email outlining an idea for a web design project, have you ever marked up a write-board with an idea, have you ever sent a proposal or project scope, or maybe you've sketched something out on a piece of paper for a client or as a client… if so, you've been using deliverables.
How have you been communicating your design ideas?
This won't be an exhaustive list of tools and resources. What it is - is a call to action. Since it's harder than ever to communicate an idea, especially one for a new web application or design, I felt it was time to share what we've learned over the years as User Experience Architects (aka Designers). What I'm about to share with you will save you time! Think about how much time you spend explaining and re-explaining your design ideas through emails and phone calls… Now, are you ready to be a more effective communicator?
Communicating design falls into this new User Experience area - but, it's not new, User Experience has been here from the beginning, we just didn't know what to call it. When I first started to build websites, we didn't have User Experience Experts or Content Architects. We had Web Designers and Web Developers. Now, we have a lot of fancy terms and job descriptions - at the end of the day it's all about effective communication.
As you go through these tools remember, there's no one tool that will do this for you. At the end of the day, it's up to you to use what works for you. That's why there's a variety of choices in this list that all basically do the same thing.
- Omni Graffle - for interface design. - Make sure to check out the UX templates we use with OmniGraffle, find them here: http://konigi.com/tools/omnigraffle-ux-template
- eithshapes.unify - for communicating design - We use this Adobe InDesign solution in combination with OmniGraffle. Once you check it out, you'll see why!
More Communication Tools
- A collection of the best UI/UX tools can be found here: http://konigi.com/tools/overview. Like we said, what you use doesn't matter - as long as you use it. This is a collection of design communication tools that you may want to try out in your quest for the right solution for you!
Other Great Tools and Software
Since communication is the topic for this post, we felt the inclusion of our favored project management tools was a must.
- Action Method - looking promising! - We've been using the Action Method paper products for a long time. Now we use everything they have to offer. For us, this was the right choice.
- BaseCamp - a really close second. - We have been base-camp enthusiasts since the beginning and still use it for working with design partners.
- Stencils - a must for any creative team.
- Big Juicy Poster - If you can find it, buy this poster.
- Check out the "5 Levels of Communication, by 99%" - we used their graphic in this post.
[Credits to PoetPainter.com for the informational graphic.]
Let us know what you think? And stay tuned as we dig into Communicating Design, thanks for reading.