erica cheng

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Notes on Design Practice and The Publishing Team

In "Notes on Design Practice: Stories and Prototypes as Catalysts for Communication", the author discusses general design process and the key elements within it; whereas in "The Publishing Team", the author emphasizes primarily on the introduction of various members/positions within a publishing team of website publication organization. The former article illustrates general design process, pointing out that design can be viewed as a process of communication among various audiences, and that many design artifacts such as stories and prototypes play a vital role in catalyzing the communication. Meanwhile, the latter article gives specific explanation on different positions and their respective responsibilities and skills in web content publisher organization. In my opinion, the former one reveals the design process laterally; while the latter one presents the design process vertically according to hierarchical order. The design process discussed in "Notes on Design Practice: Stories and Prototypes as Catalysts for Communication", seems to be able to be applied to some ideas shown in "The Publishing Team". These two articles can be put together to present a more comprehensive understanding about design practice.

According to my interpretation, the publisher, managing editor, editor, copyeditor, moderator, information architect, graphical designer, etc., can be regarded as a design team in a website publication organization. The design team together makes communication among themselves, with users and the higher level managing decision makers such as the editorial board in the organization. The designers communicate with users in order to gain their feedback, and with the organization of which they are part so as to “evangelize” the designed content. In addition, the designers from different disciplines also communicate with one another, in order to establish a shared language and understanding on the designed content, achieving the purpose of team building.

The article "Notes on Design Practice: Stories and Prototypes as Catalysts for Communication" provides quite complete and useful methods in the design process. It is noticeable that in order to make the intended end users to provide useful feedback, a concrete understanding of the to-be-designed product must be given. I think this concept is critical to the success of the designed product and can make the design process running more smoothly. To make users understand the to-be-designed product can make the designers interact with users more efficiently, thus to enable the designers to explore the exact needs and problems of the users. As a result, it helps to shorten the time and lower the cost for the designers to ascertain the designed product meets the demands of users.

In addition to the importance of communication in the design process, "Notes on Design Practice: Stories and Prototypes as Catalysts for Communication" also provides an idea that design artifacts such as stories and prototypes serve as the catalysts for the communication. Stories can be viewed as an initial communication tool for designers to communicate among themselves, with users and organization. The memorable and informal characteristics of stories elicit more personal experiences and discussions, so as to provide a more comprehensive picture of the situation and broaden the scope of the to-be-designed product. Compared with stories, the prototypes serve as the concrete representations of the to-be-designed product. The vision prototype is a good follow on to the collection and generation of stories; while the working prototype embodies the current state of the design. The author points out that the working prototype contains two properties: accessibility and roughness. I found it new and helpful to me when the author mentions that the roughness of working prototype “creates ambiguity for designers to resolve it, thus making roughness a source of ideas.” To illustrate, providing too much detail too early in the design may reduce discussions and possible feedbacks from the users and designers, so as to limit the scope for the to-be-designed product. The roughness leaves openings for discussion of the design.


  • At 7:09 PM, Blogger Drew Keller said…

    Hi Erica, Nice job on synthesizing the content from this week's readings. What has confused me a little in the articles is how we apply it to what we need to do in class. I will be anxious to see if we decide, as a group, to attach specific responsibilities to different individuals, or we all try our hands at everything. It will be fun to see what we settle on.

  • At 4:33 PM, Blogger davidcho said…

    Great summary of the readings. From your experience working in a newspaper agency, do you feel the reading: "Notes on Design Practice: Stories and Prototypes as Catalysts for Communication,” are the main ideas presented plausible in a Taiwanese newspaper outlet?


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