Swimlanes for the Win!

Jess, Yvonne, Dennis and I just wrapped our annual trek to the Information Architecture Summit. It was, as always, a fun and stimulating event that gives us a chance to re-connect with old friends and make some new ones.

This year our pals at EightShapes sponsored a Wall of Deliverables, a chance for people to share the artifacts they create to communicate with their clients. Over the three days of the event, attendees looked over the full wall and then voted on the “best in show.”

We’re excited to report that Yvonne’s submission, the Swimlane Diagram, won the popular vote. Here’s an example of a Swimlane Diagram (here’s a picture of one from Flickr):


Swimlanes are a great tool for helping clients understand users, business needs and technology all at once. They help bridge the differences between multiple stakeholders by showing all the “moving parts” of an experience in one document. The diagrams Yvonne shared included:

  • a high-level user story (usually as a comic or photo storyboard)
  • a user-experience process flow
  • the relevant business processes
  • the tools and systems involved in solving the user’s needs
  • feature and use cases references that tie back to technical documentation

The Wall of Deliverable competition was stiff, so we’re pleased as punch that she won. Way to go, Yvonne!

Gene Smith

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