September 02, 2008, 8:16 PM — Leading on from my previous post about the lessons that development teams can learn from game studios, I am going to start to explain the process that I implement in teams of different sizes in a hope that you yourself can start to create your own processes around it.
I am not going to try and give a clear definition of any one job role, because each company (and indeed each individual) has their own methods of doing â€œtheir jobâ€, so I am going to point out what parts specific roles have in the process and you can take what you like if it is relevant to your position.
This article is looking at the roles of the Interactive Designer (ID) and Graphic Design (GD) in the process, working with the XAML Architect (XA) (a.k.a. the Integrator).
The process is represented by the following (very generalised) 4 phases to creating an entire application.
1. The design phase
2. The design implementation and prototyping phase
3. The object model planning phase
4. The business logic implementation phase
Of course there are several other areas of the application process that also need to be designed and implemented such as the distribution mechanism etc, but here we are concentrating on the bulk of the designer/developer collaboration pieces to end up with an application. Testing is also a given and should not be changed if current methods are agreed and perform as desired.
The process begins well away from Expression Blend and indeed Visual Studio, with the ID working through the design brief to understand what the overall use cases are with the application. The ID also begins to form a picture if you will, of what the experience should entail for the end user and how the product should be projected.
Itâ€™s not unusual for the ID and XA to discuss in detail some of the finer points of the application, maybe some specific custom control requirements leading into any specific business requirements such as security and workflow sequence, if only to understand and verify that the conceptual flow of the application will work.
This next step is a novice step added to the process which I will describe after why it would be better to not have to do this, but for most designers, it is currently the only methods available because of experience (or lack thereof)with XAML and WPF in general.
The ID works with the GD (or graphic design teams in some cases) to piece together a storyboard of screens that give an overall visual perception of the end product, as well it doubles as a roadmap for the generalised UI design implementation. If the GD (and hopefully the ID) both work in a product such as Adobe Illustrator or Expression Design, then specific areas of the artwork created can be reused within the application.