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[PLUG] A Safe Place to Talk About Deliverables

March 6, 2009

In April, I’ll be running a workshop at the Web App Summit on design documentation–you know, the documents you make to help explain your brilliant ideas to your adoring clients and colleagues. If your work involves creating wireframes and flow charts, usability test reports and personas, you’ll get a lot out of this session.

Let me give you a taste of how the workshop goes:

  • In the first third, we talk about general best practices around documentation. We’ll spend time looking at how purpose, audience, and other factors shape the overall document.
  • In the remaining two-thirds, we dig into specific documents. Usually, for each type of document we’re discussing, we spend ten minutes or so sketching a sample artifact (like a wireframe or flow chart) and then sharing a few of them.
  • The fruit-throwing portion of our session then begins, where I show examples from my portfolio. We talk about what works and what doesn’t work about a few of them. My ego is sufficiently iron-clad such that we can get pretty brutal during the session, but know that I cry in the corner during the breaks.
  • With the Socratic “learn by doing” out of the way, I’ll talk about some considerations for each artifact. Though I persist the “layers” approach described in the book, I’ve started providing a set of “content decisions”: a finite set of Things to Think About while you’re planning an artifact. Here’s the relevant slide for flow charts:


Some other things you should know about the session:

  • There’s lots of discussion. I love hearing people’s war stories and ideas on how they do documentation.
  • Even though this is a “basics” workshop, the basics are definitely getting more advanced. Most participants are familiar with the fundamental conventions of wireframes and other artifacts, so the session ends up being about how to improve your personal process for doing these things.
  • My style is conversational, low-key, humorous*, and honest.

So, that’s the long and the short of my full-day workshop at the Web App Summit. If you’re considering coming, leave me a comment and I’d be happy to talk with you about whether the session is right for you.

If you’re sold, and hopefully you are, the icing on the cake is that if you sign up with the promotion code BROWN, you’ll get an extra $50 off for each day. Sign up for all four days and you’ll get an iPod nano. So, what are you waiting for? Register now!

* LOL not guaranteed. We will back snorts and giggles, however.

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