Olde Schoole:  This list shows the ‘collateral flow’ over the course of a project.


In earlier times I was both a documentation manager and an information architect:

On the one hand, I know that:

“Process can be described as ‘a series of documents’.

But, I am also     well aware that:

“Nobody ever reads the documentation.”

Sooooo …. Here’s my take on it.  This is a progression – more or less in order


Content Inventory

It’s basic Discovery: A comprehensive listing of What Is There. It’s one of the fundamental pieces of the design infrastructure. 

  • Content – What’s There

from:  Legacy site

to:  Site Evaluation

Site Evaluation

This high-level analysis is pretty effective at identifying the low-hanging fruit of legacy problems. 

  • Rating – What’s Good, Bad, Missing

from:   Legacy site

to:  Design Specifications

Product Snapshot

This is an overview and intro document. This initial “framing” of the product is the first piece of collateral created for use by the product team. 

  •  Context – Framing, scope

from: Client info

to:  Business Requirements

Actors & Roles :

  • Who’s Who – Customer-centricity

from:  Client info

to:  Personas, Permissions


The Workflow provides a shared context for usage perspectives and interaction; not only for the customer, but also system administrators, and the business). 

  • Usage – Step-by-step

from : Actors & Roles, Legacy system/Site

to : Design Specifications

Business Requirements

Every design project encompasses several Tasks, their related Use Cases and the many Business Rules that define them.  

  • Rules – Functionality

from : Legacy site, Client info

to : Use Cases, Business Rules

Technical Specifications

The TechSpecs are rarely at issue in ‘design-oriented’ discussions, yet they determine a lot of what can, can’t, and must be done. They often define much of the operational parameters.

  • Constraints –  Usually Defined by tech team

from : Platform, Performance

to: the functional environment

Legacy site

Design Specifications

The Design Specifications establish how we organize and present the User Interface.  

  • Vision – Presentation

Content Inventory

Site Evaluation



Information Architecture

The “information architecture” infrastructure is how we establish a common interface to data entities that are shared across multiple applications within the enterprise.

Structure – the Infrastructure of Meaning

from : Content Inventory, taxonomy

to: Tagging, Content Management, Glossary

CSS Guidelines

CSS Tags are the common design elements which are shared across multiple applications within the site. Along with the layout templates, they define the essential design infrastructure of the site.

  • Expression – of Design and Meaning

from: Information Architecture, Semantic Structure

to: Styling Guidelines



  • Implementation
  • Design Specifications


CSS Guidelines


  • Branding, identity


  • Information Architecture
  • Design Specifications
  • DemoSite

Best Practices


  • Design Ground Rules
  • Industry standards
  • Enterprise criteria
  • Design Specifications
  • Demosite

System Messages


  • Validation
  • Best Practices
  • Business Rules

QA Testing

  • Online Help

Online Help

Self Help

  • Feedback
  • Workflow
  • Business Rules
  • Glossary


Just-in-Time Popups



  • Ease form entry
  • Workflow
  • Best Practices


This article still in progress…


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