a 30 second introduction to agile modelling.

Your assessment requires you to submit a diagram of your final project’s navigation flow.

“That’s all well and good,” you might well say, “but what bloody kind of diagram?” Or possibly, “Why?”

I hope, at least, that you’ll ask that, since if you were to be asking a different question, this post would not be providing the answers.

Straight up, for this stage of the project, before development starts, you are essentially the client. Later you will become the consultant, but that’s after semester break. The purpose of diagrams for you as the client, is to clarify your ideas for the site you are about to build – to nail the user experience of the site and the information architecture of your project.

The classic way of starting that process is simply to draw a diagram of the different pages in your hypothetical site, e.g.:

One of several classic site diagrams posted by Jason Withrow

One of several classic site diagrams posted by Jason Withrow, from his (recommended) post Site Diagrams: Mapping an Information Space

That’s fine for assessment if you feel it helps you get a grip on what you’re doing. However, there are other options out there that I suspect are more useful for the projects at hand, and which are closer to real world best-practice. The key point is that in the real world design is ideally not a one-step process, but a cycle that repeats.

Iterative dewsign, cortesty Scott ambler. Click through to read his (pretty awesome) post about this.

Iterative design, courtesty Scott Ambler. Click through to read his (pretty awesome) blog post about this.

At each iteration, you make simple, casual diagrams to reflect your current, revised, perspective on the site’s functionality. The idea here is that these fast and simple diagrams are just as useful (or are complementary to) as possibly more formal site navigation

There are several options for diagramming your site which agile modelers like Scott Ampler provide – he would even advocate using several different ones at once. For this class, I’m going to recommend one of his options – the idea of “user stories”. For non hierarchical websites, the simple expedient of writing down small, discrete chunks of functionality you want from the site, and allocating each of them a priority will also be an adequate diagram for the site and may more useful to you.

A simple list of user stories will suffice; don’t feel compelled hand them in on real, physical index cards.

An example user story- Image courtesy Scott Ambler. (click through to read his post on these things!)

An example user story- Image courtesy Scott Ambler. (click through to read his post on these things!)

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