Totally Enhanced

Dawn Barber

Design Documentation — Beyond CSS

I’ve heard it said that documents such as Functional Experience Design and Style Guides are a waste of time. Not always true (especially if you are on an ‘Over-the-Wall’ project).

At a recent party a friend said he only makes wireframes at his new job and doesn’t see any of the resulting visual design (consulting jobs can pigeon-hole you if you aren’t careful). “Gasp, you don’t get to see the visual design”? Our group was obviously stunned.

This is the perfect case for design documentation. Wireframes are not just a bunch of boxes and type. They can be loaded with concepts needing some sort of interpretation. If documentation isn’t part of your job description, then document your concepts anyway. If you don’t, you might be undermining the importance of wireframes.

The other case for careful documentation is the Style Guide. Even though CSS is ever reaching beyond font style and layout there is a need for a style guide. Particularly when sending overseas or even across country.

If you get word your documentation isn’t up-to-snuff, then find out why and fix it. Make it easier to get around the doc with jumps, easy-to-follow bullet lists or provide a quick reference list at the beginning of the doc for developers.

Improve your documentation just as you would your design abilities. I bet your clients will love you for it and the nay say-ers will bend their thoughts to support design documentation.

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