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Communicating Design: Developing Web Site Documentation for Design and Planning (2nd Edition) Paperback – Sep 15 2010
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For me, that's the secret sauce that makes this book so valuable. Besides the excellent information (and more illustrations) on structure and tools for creating effective communications, it provides guidance on when and how to frame and use different types of communications (deliverables or diagrams) to facilitate discussions, work with stakeholders, clients, and other contributors, and enable projects to move forward. If you work with clients or stakeholders (what designer doesn't?), this book will help you be more successful.
What is really bothering me is the style of the author's writing. Overcomplicated long phrasings mixed with out-of-place comments (or are those jokes?) about author's hobbies... sometimes I feel I am reading a blog not a book, it's a waste of time.
I would suggest that for the 3rd edition the author teams up with a good editor who would help him phrase his thoughts more laconically, and remove all the noise from the book. Until then, if you are considering buying this book, I suggest you keep looking (unless you have lots of free time).
The book starts off by covering the fundamentals of wireframes, personas, site maps, concept models, and flowcharts. These components of the book are not only technical in a how-to format, but also practical in a business sense. In fact, Dan Brown makes a point of stressing how to negotiate these "deliverables" in business meetings, in essence preparing the reader for a career in design strategies.
The second part of the book not only emphasizes how to format the products (i.e., wireframes, personas, etc) into professional deliverables through providing structure for the reports, but also delves into competitive reviews, usability plans, and usability reports. Of most interest to me was the competitive review, as it helped establish the framework (including site map) of a site I'm about to build. One easily overlooked shortcoming of the book is that it doesn't spend the time on research strategies, such as focus groups and interviews that the book A Project Guide To UX Design by Russ Unger does. However, Communicating Design exceeds many other books in its elaboration on the personas, wireframes, site maps, flow carts, etc.--the actual deliverables.
Although the book doesn't delve into how to create the deliverables in different software programs (it only mentions a few of the usable programs like Illustrator and Microsoft Visio, for instance), one can go to Lynda.com for a month-to-month membership and access tutorials on these components. Communicating Design shows, instead, how to create the different deliverables, how to conduct oneself in business presentations of the deliverables, and how to format them into impressive reports.
It is also important to note that Dan Brown's second edition felt more cumbersome at first, due to its wide size, but after spending time with the interior of the book, the read was quite pleasant. The pages were glossed with lots of white space and friendly diagrams.
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