Reality Go with the Flow

Instead of expressing the design as a series of static artifacts — data elements, screens, files, reports — describe it in terms of business processes. What will the user do with it?

Users do not think about customer information databases or order entry screens. They think about adding a new customer as the result of an order, answering customer questions about their orders, shipping the orders and sending out invoices, and making sure invoices are paid. They think in terms of processes, information, and workflow: they know their job.

Understanding the system as a set of processes as a user experiences it, beginning to end, will lead to a much different design than approaching the subject as a set of disparate entities. It forces the consideration of the flow and purpose of information — not how it is stored, but when and why it is used.

Another important aspect of what is done is, how many and how often? Will there be 100 customers or one million? What happens most frequently — entering new customers or checking on orders? Are dozens of orders received daily, or thousands? These numbers will greatly influence the internal design of the system, including not just the amount of storage but the throughput rates. The external design is also affected: screens are designed to support the way they will be needed. Frequently needed information will be readily accessible, and high volume transactions streamlined for heads-down entry instead of heads-up aesthetics.

Do not ask the users what they want to see. Ask them what they need to do.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

Get My Free Ebook

Post a comment