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  Technical Report: Just-In-Time Design in a Fast-Paced Product Group

Just-In-Time Design in a Fast-Paced Product Group

Technical Report #:01-01
Author(s): Margo Lustig Ezekiel
Category(s):multi-disciplinary teams, focus groups, usability test, iterative design, parallel design, user-centered design, design partners
Full Citation:This paper appeared in the August 17, 2000 proceedings of the Designing Interactive Systems Conference (DIS2000)

Abstract

A Collaborative User Experience Technical Report: more about CUE...

In real world development environments where deadlines are fixed, a designer must craft a process that works with the team and within the constraints of a project. The traditional waterfall method of writing a detailed specification for each feature before development begins is often not realistic. Instead, by using a "just-in-time" design method, the designer understands how much design direction is needed at each stage of the development process, and delivers that. The larger components must be well defined initially, while other parts can be left sketchy. The designer can spread the workload over the entire length of the project, using different steps to refine the design. Delivering the design in stages gives the design a chance to mature.

Often there are many developers and few (usually 1) designers on a project. The designer is often on the critical path. To avoid being a bottleneck, the designer should use good tools and leverage the strengths of a multi-disciplinary team.

The case study documented here should prove useful to other user interface designers facing resource and time constraints. A design process derived from this experience is summarized at the end.


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