Wagilé Lecture: Mobile Web Design & Agile

AIGA AlaskaThis past weekend I attended an informative and fun AIGA lecture/workshop that shared big agency approaches to mobile web design (aka responsive design), mobile app design, user experience and bringing it all together with super iterative Agile project management techniques. Presenter Aaron Shurts, President of AIGA Seattle and  Associate Creative Director at Deloitte Digital, talked about his experience in developing mobile apps for clients Nike, Alaska Airlines and ShowTime. Here are some of my top takeaways:

Agile Project Management

Agile Project Management Flow ChartCreate a better user experience, and thus a better product, by developing chunks of your project in short intervals called sprints. The development team breaks down project requirements into user stories and the client’s representative (the product owner) prioritizes them. Based on priority, user stories developed in iterations of just a week or two, which includes user experience, user interface and programming, sometimes in the form of rapid prototypes or sometimes as fully functional elements, always within context of how they will be used.

For more info, check out Agile Project Management for Dummies. 

Agile PM: Style Tiles

Instead of developing the graphic design of an entire project before sharing with the client for approval,  style tiles show the key graphic elements that serve as the basic ingredients for developing individual chunks of a project using Agile project management. Colors, fonts, symbols, button functionality, etc, can be included here. Clients can then approve styles and overall feelings, instead of pixel-exact large scale designs.

Mobile Web Design

Rapid Prototyping (image courtesy of http://snowdesign.com/05_snaptax_web.htm)As responsive web design (i.e. sites that have code and graphics designed to adapt to different devices) has quickly become the standard for mobile web design, developers have had to rethink their web building techniques. They now need to design website features with fluidity and touch screen interactivity in mind, led by questions like “How will this look at 320, 768, 1024 pixels?” and “How far apart should link areas be for iPad, iPhone, Android, etc.?”. By using digital tools like FieldTest or back-of-the-napkin rapid prototyping, designers create interactive mini mockups that walk the user through the layout and functionality of a feature, providing valuable feedback in the early stages of development and, thus, preventing a lot of potential backtracking later on.


And that’s just a quick summary of my favorite thoughts from Aaron’s awesome lecture. Thanks AIGA Alaska for bringing him to Alaska!

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