I have been working on a personal project to standardize the way that business analysts, designers and developers communicate in projects about the problems and solutions that they have to solve. Even though UX Design has been talked about striking a viable balance between Business, Technology and People (feel free to insert your favourite Venn diagram here), I have not found there to be a common way for analysts, designers and developers to share information.

We don't need to go too much into details about how UX Designers capture information, but suffice to say that we produce more artefacts than the business analysts and software developers combined. So I want to highlight some of the things that business analysts and developers have been using as background to why I am asking this question.

Software Developers

Most of the front end software application design and development seems to be trending towards pre-built development frameworks or other javascript libraries for the web, compared to some of the back end or enterprise application design that uses a mixture of functional (C, C++) and object-oriented (Java, C#) programming languages.

Object oriented or object based programming languages tries to model real world entities so that it can replicate the properties and behaviour digitally. This is no different from mathematics trying to model real world scenarios to solve problems. Although not confined to object oriented languages only, UML (Unified Modelling Language) is a standard way of capturing information in a standard way to model the problem space and help develop a programming solution.

Interestingly, there is a previous question about the Choice of Programming Language and UX as well, but dealing with something slightly different: Choice of Programming Languages and UX

Business Analysts

Traditionally the Business Process Modelling Notation (BPMN) has been used to specify business processes in a business process model. But as we know, the current business environment is largely trending towards a user experience driven market and therefore many products and services are focusing largely on the 'people' element, and this is also reflected by how the latest version of the BPMN language (2.0) has been used.

Given that there are already conventions in object oriented programming like UML and BPMN in business analysis, why is it that there isn't a standardized way for business analysts, designers and developers to communicate the problem and solution that they are working on? Or are there actually examples of UML, BPMN or some other convention that has been used successfully?

Question - Is there a standard that is used by analysts, designers and developers?

I haven't come across something like this, and the reason why I think this is the case is a combination of:

  1. There isn't really a 'standard' in UX Design like there is for BAs or devs
  2. There is no benefit of maintaining a single standard compared to managing three different standards (as there isn't a suitable solution that fits all three), and you end up dealing with four instead of one.
  3. There is too much difference between the disciplines to warrant a single standard
  4. No one has attempted it, or no successful attempts have been made

UPDATE: I thought that this recent question about OOP (Object Oriented Programming) and UX Design which drew a lot of interest indicates that perhaps it is worth exploring further, hence a second bounty (the first was not claimed) is being offered.

  • I have trouble understanding the question, concrete what is it that you are asking? Do you wish to find a way that you can communicate clearly to BA's / Devs / Designers etc. Or do you wish to find an 'artifact' that is used by all 3 and understood by them all? For instance you talked about '...about the problems and solutions that they have to solve' and ' a common way for analysts, designers and developers to share information' to me these 2 are different goals.
    – Kevin M.
    Sep 24, 2019 at 11:17
  • @KevinM. I have been working on a process/artefact to solve what I think is an important issue, but I haven't seen anything similar out there (at least not as prominent as the various UX tools). I think those two different goals you mentioned has a common underlying problem that can be solved by standardizing the way BAs / Devs / Designers communicate (i.e. process and artefacts to communicate problem to be solved and sharing information about the solution to be delivered).
    – Michael Lai
    Sep 24, 2019 at 23:42
  • 1
    This is an excellent question, which partly relates to my Masters dissertation. Bounty or not, I hope to find some time to answer in the near future. In the mean time I urge you to look into Eric Yu's I* framework. Also related: cse.msu.edu/~cse870/Materials/GoalModeling/…. Oh! And not sure about you, but last time I've used UML was in 2001. OOP is also losing ground in more dynamic eco-systems (and for a bloody good reason - it has conceptual pitfalls).
    – Izhaki
    Nov 1, 2019 at 21:08

2 Answers 2


BPMN 2.0 seems to be a good candidate for a standard that closes the gap between more specialized standards.

I can only answer from my own perspective, being part of an organization that uses BPMN (2.0) workflows for automated and human processes. It is still in development but the benefits are already visible. It communicates everything the company stands for, which is great for the overal vision and for UX. Take for example an order that is being processed by a machine that is programmed to follow a (BPM/RPA) workflow, it takes a few minutes before the user is able to use the product. That workflow can also be used by the design team to see where (and why) the delay takes place (and decide on sending notifications for example). Another BPMN workflow exists for the customer journey of this order processs that shows this delay and can zoom into the automated process when needed. There are great BPMN documentation and editing tools for this which, when integrated in the organization in the way a CRM or HRM system would, stimulate teams to create the workflows that need transparency to other teams, and to automate systems using workflows. For example, the design team can have a workflow for incoming design requests and the whole company knows where to find it, how to read it and thus how that process works (and maybe suggest improvements etc.).

Still every discipline has their own specialized ways to document, communicate and automate things. BPMN is not going to change this, but it seems to be suitable to close the gap between them. This can not be said for (the ideas of) object oriënted programming and UML (except maybe activity diagrams). Even if it is possible, the concepts are very much oriënted on the technical aspects and have a high learning curve for non-technical people, gaining support for it would be difficult.

  • +1 Thanks for the personal perspective. Perhaps a simplified version of BPMN could be considered to reduce the learning curve and gaining support? I have been using something similar to it and it has been adopted at some of the organisations I have worked for, although I still haven't seen anything that has been adopted to close the gap.
    – Michael Lai
    Nov 7, 2019 at 22:05

Because there are many forms of documentation, from your question I assume that we are talking about documenting the processes only.

A Flowchart is a standard, which is used by analysts, designers and developers.

  • It is used by programmers to note the algorithms.
  • It is used by designers to note user interactions.
  • It is used by analysts to note the business processes.

BPMN is based on the flowcharts and very similar to Activity Diagrams in UML. Both BPMN and Activity Diagrams are extensions to a Flowchart. There is no standard Flowchart extension for UX, therefore designers usually extend it on their own.

Because of a Flowchart is more an abstract and high-level thing, it is successfully used for collaboration between all three roles.

  • +1 Yes, you are correct because BPMN and UML are focused on processes rather than other aspects of information capture. Based on the amount of UX tools being developed, it is interesting that there hasn't been something developed for documenting processes (other than user journeys, which still needs to be converted to be useful for designing interfaces).
    – Michael Lai
    Nov 7, 2019 at 22:08

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