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Designing for the Digital Age: How to Create Human-Centered Products and Services by Kim Goodwin

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Chapter 20. Detailed Design: Making Your Ideas Real

Detailed Design: Making Your Ideas Real

Congratulations—you've survived the most nerve-racking part of any project, the delivery of your design framework. By this time, you've hopefully got everyone excited about the design direction, and much of the uncertainty is behind you. Now, though, you have a big pile of hard work ahead. Fleshing out the detailed design means resolving numerous difficult questions: How much is essential to accomplish by a reasonable ship date? How will the engineers implement the functionality you've imagined? How will the design handle all those details and edge cases you've been able to ignore until now? How will that complex data visualization tool you've glossed over really look? It's not surprising that the detailed design work often takes more time than the rest of the process combined.

Aside from creating the best possible design within your business constraints, the objective of detailed design is to give the product team—especially the engineers—as clear and comprehensive a blueprint for the product's form and behavior as you can manage within the time you have. Good specifications help engineering managers develop more accurate estimates of effort and cost, while letting engineers focus on how to build the product instead of spending time on how it behaves and looks. Specs also help the quality assurance team plan their testing, let technical ...

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