Interaction design, as described by Alan Cooper in The Inmates are Running the Asylum, is a process for designing software by focusing on the most important users. Unlike traditional requirements gathering and solution design processes, interaction design focuses on the goals of a specific class of users, represented as a persona. Those goals are considered when defining scenarios that represent how the primary persona will use the software. The combination of goals and scenarios leads to design artifacts and a functional specification. We will explore these steps in more detail in this post.
We mentioned the creation of personas in our overview of the interaction design process. In this post we will talk in more detail about how to create them. We will cover identification and prioritization of the personas, defining the practical and personal goals for the personas, and creating the anecdotal stories that give each persona an identity against which we can make design decisions. Scenarios are also defined for the primary personas, which drive the creation of the functional requirements specification.
Wiegers promotes structured requirements. Cooper touts Interaction Design. Both have great ideas. Both “wave their hands” at different parts of the process. In this post, we’ll talk about how to combine the two philosophies to get the best of both worlds.