Process flow meets the London Underground

Harry Beck's 1933 London Underground map is an info design classic (thanks Erin). Martin Kay has used the tube map's visual language for flow diagrams. The results are luscious and engaging in a way that vanilla boxes and arrows can't rival. More than just sample deliverables, Martin offers a short explanation, a 7 page guide on creating your own, and a PowerPoint template of map components. (thanks pencil & paper)

Of course, with any deliverable, there's usually the tradeoff between making it quickly and making it pretty. For the most part, I prefer fast diagrams over pretty. That works great for internal team communication, or for clients who are directly engaged in the process as team members. Reserve the effort of pretty deliverables for final versions or other things that need to do a sales job within the organization. The selling power of a large format color diagram shouldn't be overlooked, even if the pencil sketch version tells the same story.

AIfIA Tools section launches!

Wow! Erin Malone throws down and gets the AIfIA tools initiative rolling with a great collection of tools that can be used in everyday practice. Thanks Erin and all who worked on this!

Document templates, process map posters and other tools to help you in your practice. The documents, which have been donated by various people in the organization, have been found to be useful at one time or another. Items can be used in combination or alone as needed.

If you have templates and documents that you would like to share with AIfIA and other members of the community, contact iatools@aifia.org. A Tools initiative volunteer will work with you to "cleanse" your submission(s) of proprietary logos and language and add it to this page.

User Interface Library

Gabe Zentall has published a library of user interface templates in Adobe Illustrator (also available as PDF), which provides UI elements for use in prototype design. It covers Windows, OS X, and Palm. The templates are excellent excellent for creating high-fidelity wireframes or prototypes. Template sets are separated on different layers in the Illustrator file and all are of course, completely editable. This is perfect for Illustrator wireframers. I'm thinking that this would be a nice OmniGraffle pallette as well.

[Thanks, Column Two and Reloade]

Magnetic Prototyping Tool

Ben Speaks is selling a magnetic prototyping toolkit similar to many paper prototyping toolkits. It contains widgets and a magnetic board that can be written on with whiteboard markers.

I'm not sure what the benefit is beyond laminated widgets and post-it notes. Gimmick? Or real value? I guess I'd have to use it to see if I like it better than my laminated paper prototyping kit I made myself. Advantages to the home rolled version being that it was cheaper, and I have enough material for a dozen screens, not just one.

Whether or not it really works better than paper, I like to see people exploring with prototyping tools.

Heuristic evaluation OmniOutliner template

I don't normally do heuristic evaluations, but I volunteered to do one for Drupal's administration interface. I created a checklist of questions under Nielsen's heuristics and wanted to record my evaluations in a simple bullet list. The template is simply an OmniOutliner file that lists the 10 heuristics, with notes describing each (taken verbatim from Nielsen). I plan to insert bullet points for each of my evaluations under each rubric and export to RTF. At that point I will probably create a PowerPoint presentation or Word document from the RTF and then save as PDF.

Use it if it's helpful to you.

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