This week focused primarily on the project planning and mapping phase. As I was doing some research into flow maps for interaction design, I came across some very useful information. I have always found flow mapping somewhat confusing, since it focuses on the way people move through an application or site, but gets confusing when there are lots of ways to move through using a universal navigation with non-linear aspects to the content. Enter application mapping. Application Mapping As Hagan Rivers describes it:

Why do I make these maps? When I look at an application I look for it’s hubs. The hubs are the work areas – the place where the user creates things and does things to them. In complex applications (one with hundreds of screens, for example) there may be dozens of hubs and their relationships may be complicated. I use the Application Map to help me visualize these applications more clearly and to act as a foundation for the design of the navigation system.

So, I started building my own application map and found it much easier to construct than what I had done in the past for flow maps. It was a little confusing to get around what was a "hub", what was a "group" and what was just out there. I'll be posting it up to this site tomorrow, once the finishing touches are all added. Omnigraffle I also rekindled a long dormant interest in Omnigraffle, which is what Haga Rivers uses to map out the application. Omnigraffle used to be bundled with every Mac, back in the day, and I upgraded from a very old copy. With that, I found out that there is a great student discount on the software! I also found Graffletopia, a site with lots of templates for charts, graphs, or anything! There is a great set of UX stencils that I'll be using for the interaction mapping and wireframe.