Far too many web site design projects are plagued by continuous changes to mockups, or changes to the user experience after it’s already been implemented. While seemingly inevitable, these changes are both costly and unnecessary. Leveraging a staged approach to development of the user experience can reduce costs, frustrations, and time.
The process revolves around the idea that you move from the least specific to the most specific user interface while covering both the static – what people see – and the dynamic – how they interact. The process outlined below is designed to continuously elicit requirements and improve understanding earlier in the process – with less investment.
Projects that attempt to skip the steps outlined here often go directly to the mockup step and end up in countless iterations because there’s a lack of clarity about what the end goals are. This lack of clarity makes the mockup the virtual dog chew toy, as one group struggles to move the mockup closer to their vision. Ultimately, another group sees the move as moving away from their vision and they attempt to pull it back. By progressing through a rational design approach, the unnecessary work of continuing to develop iteration after iteration can be eliminated.