Application Map & Design Process

I have reached an exciting stage of my application, I have conducted a large amount of research into the application content, target audience, comparative applications and the technical knowledge required to create the application.  I will continue to look for new options and possibilities as I go along but I feel I am now in a good position to move forward into the advanced planning stages before I start development.

As a designer I try to follow a design process, the design process that I am using can be seen below:

design process

Designers use design processes in their work but designers often tailor the process to suit them; The Design Council says “Different designers manage the process of design in different ways.”  During research in 2005 The Design Council found similarities in the approaches of designers within eleven different prominent design companies and from this research they produced a graphical representation of the design process, see below:

DoubleDiamond

The Design council call this the ’double diamond’ design process model; the model has divided the design process into four distinct phases: Discover, Define, Develop and Deliver.

It attempts to map the divergent and convergent stages of the design process, showing the different modes of thinking that designers use.

Each section can then be broken down into smaller sections, as you can see below:

 Discover

The first quarter of the double diamond model marks the start of the project. This begins with an initial idea or inspiration, often sourced from a discovery phase in which user needs are identified, these include:

  • Market research
  • User research
  • Managing information
  • Design research groups.

Define

The second quarter of the double diamond model represents the definition stage, in which interpretation and alignment of these needs to business objectives is achieved.  Key activities during the Define stage are:

  • Project development
  • Project management
  • Project sign off

 Develop

The third quarter marks a period of development where design-led solutions are developed, iterated and tested within the company.  Key activities and objectives during the Develop stage are:

  • Multi-disciplinary working
  • Visual management
  • Development methods
  • Testing

 Deliver

The final quarter of the double diamond model represents the delivery stage, where the resulting product or service is finalised and launched in the relevant market. The key activities and objectives during this stage are:

  • Final testing, approval and launch
  • Targets, evaluation and feedback loops.

This model has similarities to my process, although I do not have some of the business and client considerations in my project, see the process comparison below:

dev_process

As you can see my process equates to the Design Council’s Double Diamond, the terminology may be different but if you look at the report produced by the design council the processes they investigated all differed in terminology.  The main difference in this situation occurs in the Define section, the business objectives mentioned in this section do have a parallel within my project, these relate to the academic side of the project, my proposal, academic feedback and the design sign in a way is equivalent to me been allowed to pursue this project but to me in this case these are academic matters outside of the design process which is why I have not included them.

There is no one design process suitable for all in all situations but the design council are trying to show some of the common ground within many design processes, in their report they do acknowledge that there is no one size fits all process, they say “We’ve seen that there is no consensus on a best practice design process model, but that a design process, taking whatever form that works for the given company at a given time, is thought to deliver business benefits.” P.15

My process helps me to organise my workload, I am currently entering stage 3 of my design process although I still intend to carry out further research alongside my prototyping, I do not see my process as a strict guideline, as I prefer to have a bit of creative freedom to drift slightly if the interest takes me in a certain direction, I find this helps me to stay interested and sometime develop stronger ideas.  The design councils report also draws attention to the need for flexibility within the design process, “Having a design process that allows for and accommodates change also means that design can take place on both a tactical and operational level.” P.14

http://www.designcouncil.org.uk/Documents/Documents/Publications/Desk%20Research%20Report.pdf

Today I have created my application map, known as a site map in web design it is basically an organisational layout of the structure of the application.  I started by using sticky tabs on a piece of paper as they are easy to move and re-arrange until I find a solution that I am happy with, see below:

app map made with sticky labels

I then produced an easier to understand colour coded application map based upon the final positions of the sticky tabs, see below:

This will help me when I start to build my application as I know how many pages I need and where to put them, although I will be leaving room for change and evolvement as this is vital in avoiding future problems.

http://www.designcouncil.org.uk/designprocess

http://www.designcouncil.org.uk/Documents/Documents/Publications/Desk%20Research%20Report.pdf

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