The PDD is a valuable deliverable that can either complement or precede wireframes to negotiate the strategy of the site/pages with clients.
Re-Introducing Page Description Diagrams by Colin Butler, Andrew Wirtanen
roadside assistance on the digital highway
A conceptual model is a structured and coherent outline of ideas about how a web site or application will work. It is based on the requirements table and findings from audience and stakeholder research. It can include a model for the content (site map), high level wireframes, user journeys, technical architecture diagrams, and high level style guides.
Benefits in a nutshell
Benchmarking is an exercise to determine the performance of a website in comparison with competitor sites. Performance is measured against a set of user experience requirements (disciplines). The score that a website achieves in a discipline is either based on the outcome of specific tasks carried out by users, or on expert opinion, or on a combination of both. The final benchmark report presents the results in a matrix view and graphic charts along with the rationale for the ratings and relevant examples across all disciplines.
A heuristic review is a systematic inspection of a web-site or application. Usability experts check it against a number of usability standards (‘heuristics’) and determine challenges for successful user-interaction and a rich user experience. A heuristic review can discover up to 70% of user experience problems and is an efficient way of establishing the status quo at the beginning of a project.
“A wireframe is a simplified view of what content will appear on each screen of teh final product, usually devoid of colour, typographical styles, and images. Also known as schematics, blueprints, prototypes.”
From: Brown, Dan (2007), Communicating Design, Berkeley: New Riders, p.265
“Flow charts attempt to visualize a process, usually centered around a specific task or function, For web-based processes, flow charts often represent a series of screens that collect and display infromation to the users. Also known as flows, user flows, process charts.”
“What seperates a flow from a site map is that in the former, time is the defining factor. The relationships between the steps are sequential, not structural or hierarchichal . While site maps capture an information structure that may or may not match the user’s experience of the site, a flow chart defines a process from beginning to end.
From: Brown, Dan (2007), Communicating Design, Berkeley: New Riders, p. 229
“Sitemap is a visual representation of a web site’s structure. Also known as structural model, taxonomy, hierarchy, navigation model, or site structure.”
From: Brown, Dan (2007), Communicating Design, Berkeley: New Riders, p. 199
“Content inventory is a list of all the information contained in a web site, along with data that describes the information from several points of view, like target audience or location. Also known as a content analysis or content audit (…)
The main distinction between these two documents [content inventory and content audit] is the level of granularity. In essence, the distinction is how much of the site you describe. With an inventory, the intent is to capture and describe every piece of content on the site. A content audit captures and describes less, focussing perhaps on the main content areas of the site or the top two levels of navigation after the home page. An audit establishes a boundary around the scope of the investigation.”
From: Brown, Dan (2007), Communicating Design, Berkeley: New Riders, p.167
“A summary representation of the system’s intended users, often described as real people. Any project can have one or more personas, each representing a different kind of audience for the system. Also known as: user profiles, user role definitions, audience profiles.”
From: Brown, Dan (2007), Communicating Design, Berkeley: New Riders, p.15
“To summarize, a conceptual model is a story. It doesn’t have to discuss the actual mechanisms of the operation. But it does have to pull the actions together into a coherent whole that allows the user to feel in control, to feel there is a reason for the way things are structured, to feel that, when necessary, it’s possible to invent special variations to get out of trouble and, in general, feel mastery over the device.”
From: Norman, Don (1999), The Invisible Computer: Why Good Products can fail, The Personal Computer Is So Complex and Information Appliances Are The Solution, New York: Harper Collins, p.179