Art and Design Track

Human Interface Teams and the Role of the Designer in the Development of Next Generation Web Applications.

To be presented by Peter Schonefeld, SVG Foundation.[1]

As the differences between the web site and the stand-alone program dissolve, the role of the Designer expands and collides with the similarly expanding role of the Programmer. This proposed presentation aims at assessing the collision's area of impact and will propose a workflow based on the OPEN Process Framework that will assist Designers and Programmers in collaborating effectively.

The simple N-Tier architecture for computer applications is typically comprised of at least three layers: the data layer; the business layer; the presentation layer. The presentation layer represents that part of the computer program where the human user enters and receives information to and from the associated information system. This proposed session, to be presented at SVG Open's Art and Design Strand, is concerned with the design and implementation of the Presentation Layer.

For a computer application to interact with the user effectively (via the presentation layer), good design is critical: effective Usability Design, Layout Design, Information Design, and Graphic Design. However, the realization of a good Graphical User Interface (GUI) design is, at some level, increasingly reliant upon the skills of the programmer. This relationship implies that the production of a successful presentation layer is a function of designer and programmer interaction.

This presentation consists of three parts:

  1. A brief description of the emerging SVG related technologies and tools that will be key to the building next generation of web based applications and will facilitate the operation of teams that consist of design, content creation and programming roles (Human Interface Teams);
  2. A description of the OPEN Process Framework (OPF), a customizable open source repository of free reusable process components that can be used to create tailorable project-specific processes for developing software-intensive systems. [2]
  3. A demonstration of the proposed Designer's workflow with the tools that support SVG content creation (Adobe Illustrator and Alias Maya, for example).

It has become evident that the designers' contribution to the pursuit of next generation web applications has to be considered something that cannot be bypassed or overlooked, to the extent that the actual realization of Next-Gen applications may reveal itself to be increasingly difficult to achieve without the specific skills that designers can bring to a project.

As important to the success of Next-Gen applications as the application of sound design, is the need for programmers to align their skill-set with new GUI technologies and standards; by doing so, they may better implement the linkages between the user and the other layers of an application.

Only Designers and Programmers working together in Human Interface Teams will be well placed to overcome the challenges faced by the developers of Next-Gen applications.

[1] The SVG Foundation is a non-profit technology organization supporting SVG and related Web technologies (http://www.svgfoundation.org).
[2] The Open Process Framework is a free product of the non-profit OPEN Consortium (http://www.donald-firesmith.com).