Credits | Timeline
Timeline for Development
april 14 Beginning of menu plan
This site was built in several phases:
Although all of these phases were more compressed than usual, several critical planning documents were necessary to pull it all together. They are:
Flowchart: the first of several specification documents, the flowchart is a blueprint that maps site architecture and defines its nature, depth, layout, navigation, and page-numbering conventions. The aim is to define a structure that supports site content and functionality. Perhaps most importantly, information design is critical to intuitive navigation. It helps users understand what's available on a site, where to find it, and how to orient themselves.
The information itself can be organized in multiple ways: by time, by mode of use (i.e., browsing versus directed searching), by audience type, by level of detail, by proximity (i.e., geographically), by size, alphabetically, etc.
Schematics: a document that describes the page elements and the page layout. Similar to the old-style "boards" used in publishing, they resemble simple page layouts with boxes, lines, and dummy ("greeked") text. Schematics are a stepping stone to more refined designs.
Visual Treatments: the "look and feel" of the interface, visual treatments encompass typeface, color palette, photography, iconography and animation.
Usability Testing: perhaps the most important part of the prototyping process. Usability testing consists of a series of tests in which users try to complete a given set of tasks in particular environments. In addition to task completion, testing also entails evaluation of the design. The purpose of usability testing is to determine the effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction with which users achieve their goals.
Coding and Production: is the stage in which everything is joined together through a series of builds. Scripting (HTML, Perl, CGI, etc.), programming (C, Java, etc.) and QA testing are performed. All visual elements are incorporated. Production specifications for typography, layout, and color are developed. Design, copy, and technical code are then integrated into the build and visual work and copy is produced. During the Beta phase, the build is moved from the development server to the client server. Beta signifies final integration prior to formal testing.