Friday Mar 21, 2008

Project Overlap

I know you just love it when you find out your project overlaps with about 4 other projects doing kind of the same thing, but from a different place. That just happens in large-scale organizations, however we arrange ourselves and whatever processes we try and stick to. So when you gracefully collide with the business teams, the publishing and engineering teams and at least 1 other team you didn't actually know existed until this morning, in a conference call that gathers all the stakeholders, it nice to get a good outcome.

We're currently taking a deep dive, or whatever you call it, into the design framework we need in order to support the content architecture around product lines. In other words, if you happen to be the director in charge of, say, server marketing here at Sun, what is it that sun.com needs to do for you? I mean, we know a bunch of stuff about what people are actually doing when they hit those landing pages (we're calling then category pages, for the record), but what is it that we're wanting them to do, and from where did they enter, and to where are they going? Its all very well me just drawing a fancier looking media panel and assuming that we know what's going to play there, or even if it should be a media panel at all. I can use terms like 'customer channel' as if I know what they mean, but in the end, as designers, we're trying to understand the customer journey, in order for us to determine navigation paths and build a design framework that works for everyone.

Which is where collisions are helpful. As long as you have super efficient people around you to pull those overlapping projects together (designers don't really do that kind of stuff very well), you might just strike it lucky and start the conversation at the point where you're all saying "well, that's kind of what we're trying to do". And that's what happened this week, which made everything fit together way more neatly than it did last week. I finally get to the point where I know what's required, we're engaged with the stakeholders, and we're all talking the same language.

Typically, I'm on vacation all next week, so I'll forgotten it all by the time I get back (only joking).

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