Our approach to design is to have a clearly defined set of requirements obtained from stakeholders and the project scope, with as much visual modeling as possible. Defining requirements in this way provides a clear, concise and expedited specification. Visual modelling can be in the form of diagrams, wireframes, prototypes, use case stories or sketches, that together with a clear specification will bring to life the project and its constraints. Working in such a way enables us to provide clients with tangible views to further elicit feedback before entering development.
Our approach also lends itself to provide a firm foundation for either in house or external teams to carry out the development work, where Saxby Willson would fulfill the role of Design architects specifying the exact needs and nature of the system for the Client.
What do we cover with Design?
By merging the requirements and design phases together, this enables us to work on high end requirements whilst validating the detail in the design of a project. The design phase normally consists of a series of iterations with Clients and if different, key stakeholders. The following elements are part of our design phase:
- Consultation meetings to understand Client needs, defining scope, constraints, business practice and procedure (If required workshops are held)
- Definition of project scope and constraints
- Visual Specification containing functional and non functional requirements which are cross mapped to visuals created after the consultation meetings are completed (The key here is to have a concise, streamlined definition and roadmap for the project; providing insight into development, system behaviour as well as ‘look & feel’)
- Wireframe design based on visual specification
- Use case stories and user journey walkthroughs to illustrate stakeholder interaction with the system / solution
- Timelines, investment and operating requirements, including post implementation support
A Stakeholder Centric Approach
The beauty of merging agile development with a Stakeholder Centric Approach is the high level of productivity and project direction one can achieve. We believe having our Clients vested and involved in each section of the development / solution lifecycle is paramount to project success. From the first client meeting through to delivery we ensure that our Clients are abreast of all project related decisions, progress and developments so that together we can create a truly fit for purpose solution. We believe in short functionality developments, where Clients can review progress in a modular manner as to ensure that we can ‘tweak’ aspects as we move through the development.
Visual Specifications and User Experience Design
The term ‘visual specification’ can mean a series of things to a number of people, therefore it is essential to define and understand what exactly this form of specification is. A traditional specification is a rather long and detailed document containing a whole manner of definitions, requirement scope, risk assessments, feature lists and so on. Visual specifications enable most of this detail to be provided in diagrammatical format to shorten and provide a more concise means of communicating what a given project is to deliver. Visualisation can be used for user interfaces, process flow diagrams for a given section of a system or department or user stories illustrating how a user would walkthrough given system functionality. Therefore the process of creating a Visual specification is an interactive and diagrammatical one, that helps in providing depth to traditional specification elements.
User Experience Design or UX modelling is an extension of the visual specification where a series of activities are undertaken with stakeholders to validate the design and utility of the service or system. Aspects such as ease of use, intuitiveness and efficiency are reviewed and benchmarked against user expectations. Depending on the type of project required, the degree of UX modelling will vary.