How to become the perfect Web and Information Architect
This course has been created to support information and solution architects to improve their skills for the design and development of website, web applications and mobile apps.
It is an over-comprehensive course with the scope of covering all the aspects of the software development process where an information and/or solution architect should be involved to.
The main topics covered in this course are:
- What is solution and information architecture: what really solution and information architecture is. How to setup your mindset to understand your customers and the design and development teams and solve conflicts and misunderstandings.
- Different roles in the design process: get to know the main roles involved in the design and development phases of a web product, e.g. User Experience designers, User Interface designers, Product designers, etc.
- Requirement Gathering: how to collect and define the requirement as your customer wants and understands.
- Product Conception: how to do high and low level design, design the process workflows, define the business logic and algorithm to implement the functionalities, define the use cases, prepare wireframes, prototypes, sketches and mokups for the front end parts/pages of the final web solutions.
- Database Architecture: specify database tables, define primary and foreign keys, link/reference tables, specify the user privileges.
- Technical Requirements: how to translate business requirements into detailed technical requirements, how to specify layout and functionality requirements; write the technical requirements in form of user stories (following AGILE methodologies e.g. SCRUM); specify the acceptance criteria of the technical specifications in form of “definition of done“.
- Project Management: what a solution architect needs to know with regards to project management; how to layout a project plan; how to define a release plan based on sprints (following AGILE methodologies e.g. SCRUM); how to evaluation the time and effort needed for each design and development task. Although an information architect is not a project manager at the end in many cases in the real life of a business it is quite often required that an architect also take care of project management activities (at least as a technical project manager within a project or program management organization).
- Quality Assurance: as for the project management past, an information architect may be likely involved in the definition of the acceptance criteria of each technical specifications. In this section students learn how to define test scenarios, test cases and test procedures (which at the end will be executed by other teams). With that I mean that the students will learn how to specify the way to test the technical specifications and to which criteria the acceptance procedures should refer to.
- Documentation management: an information architect delivers a lot of documentation in the definition phase and needs also to update it when reviews are needed (e.g. during the project execution phase or when the customers decides to proposed new changes or when the developers inform that corrections are needed). In this session the students learn how to manage their documentation and how to deal with documentation packages, implement the revision process and specify the documentation data structure (including the management of the history and of the documentation package versions).
- Code and component modularity: the critical key to success in software architecture is the specifications of single modules and templates to use as parts of the front end solutions and as pieces of software code to be reused at need and reduce redundancy, development cycle times and maintenance issues, efforts and times. In this session the students learn how to do modular web design and modular web applications as developers.
- Front End Design: this is where an architect define the layout, the fonts, colors, user interfaces and interactions of a website or web application.
- Responsive Web Design: this does not mean design and develop a responsive website or web application but how to specify a website or web application that must be responsive, i.e. must have the best look & feel on all devices (desktop computers, tables, smartphones, etc.). This is an extension of the previous session (Front End Design) but focused on making everything work on all the possible combinations of browsers/devices.
- Back End Design: what is the difference between back end and admin panel and between back end programming and back end administration. Students learn here how to specify the architecture of an admin panel and back end admin for content management systems.
At the end I have included some special bonuses which include some case studies and an overview of some of the trends and technologies in web design up to date.
All the topics are supported by clarifications from 3 case studies:
- a B2B product management application
- a raffle campaign website
- an eLearning web platform
The students learn how to use Microsoft PowerPoint and LucidChart to create their workflows, processes, wireframes and database architectures and will get to know the most popular tools for web architect to create prototypes and mokups. They also learn how to use Microsoft word to compile technical briefing and Microsoft Excel to list the technical specifications, generate the test cases and test scenarios, specify the project and release plans and track the documentation versions.