In my recent article for A List Apart, “Prototyping Your Workflow”, I wrote:
There’s a seductive danger present whenever you see someone else outline their way of working, however. It’s easy to take their process as a rigid, universal truth. The trouble is, you and your team aren’t like everyone else—you have different strengths and weaknesses. Borrowing someone else’s process wholesale ignores the fact that it probably took them lots of fumbling to get to that point, and it’s going to take plenty of experimentation on your team’s part to figure out what works for you.
That wasn’t written to dismiss what people are sharing. Quite the opposite—you absolutely should be paying attention to how people are approaching their process, because it’s near-impossible to come up with something that works well all by yourself. So in that spirit, here’s a number of links to pieces that I keep returning to when I think about process. Some are philosophical, some are technical, but they’ve all helped me in some way:
- Empathy and (Dis)content by Sara Wachter-Boettcher: Sara’s line about “masterminding ‘perfect’ solutions” was one of the things that sparked the idea for my article.
- Getting Started with Pattern Libraries by Anna Debenham. Anna’s book on front-end style guides for Five Simple Steps is also very good if you can find it (it’s no longer listed on the FSS site).
- Reading Is Fundamental by Daniel Mall: Dan is extremely generous about sharing his ideas on Superfriendly’s process. This one links out to other posts about the open redesign for RIF.
- Sparkbox open redesign: Lots of practical notes here about content/style prototypes.
- Brad Frost’s Blog: Yes, I’m linking to the whole blog, because there’s so much good stuff here. Some favorites: Responsive Strategy, HTML Wireframes, and Development is Design. Also, I highly recommend his talk Death to Bullshit.
- Workflow Orchestration for the Weary by Lyza Danger Gardner: introducing some tool-driven systems that smooth away repetitive workflow tasks.
- Responsive Deliverables by Dave Rupert. “Modules, not pages” was such a helpful phrase for my colleagues and me.
- Reorganization by Trent Walton: Hey, these Paravel folks are pretty smart. I love how Trent delves into the ways teams might need to change to work better and faster.
- Responsive Design Workflow by Stephen Hay: A book! Even if you don’t end up using some of the tools and techniques Stephen uses, the book is tremendously helpful at articulating the why behind workflow choices.
- How we work, The Business of RWD, and Responsive Summit: Workflow by Mark Boulton. Mark talks about getting rid of “The Big Reveal”, which has been one of my favorite themes from the past year.
- People Skills for Web Workers by Jonathan Kahn: lots of good observations about communication.
Each of those people above didn’t have to take the time to write and share about how they’re approaching their process, but they did, and I’m so very grateful for their generosity. If you’re writing about this stuff, or have your own favorite links/touchstones, please share them with our community—the more we talk openly about these things, the more we’ll be able to help our clients and ourselves.