For a long-term project, I'm working on part of the ux- and design guidelines for a corporate application. Till last year they use a 'static' pdf on a fileserver where it gets outdated and nobody is using it, because of that. Does anyone here has experience with existing (and not time consuming) platforms to publish guidelines on and have them updated regularly? I like the format where Apple and MS publish there guidelines in, but it seems very time consuming.

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    Would a cloud based option like Google Docs (or similar) work for you? – Roger Attrill Jun 7 '12 at 11:23
  • A printable website would be good, easy access and updates. But also the ability to print for users that prefer that. Remember to add a version number or somehting to avoid confusion. – Allan Kimmer Jensen Jun 7 '12 at 14:37

I dont think this is specific to UX. This is actually a question of knowledge management. There is a whole ecosystem of people/products/services for this kind of thing.

Software like Wikis like Confluence, SharePoint, MadCap Flare, Salesforce Sites, Google Docs all are viable options. It depends on your security (and other) requirements.

Google: Knowledge Management stackexchange and you get interesting hits.

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  • True, and probably the question is more specifically: "What software is suitable for designer people (with only some coding experience) to share their deliverables in an efficient way? – Rene Jun 8 '12 at 9:34

I agree with Aviva Rosenstein that you have to design your deliverables just like you design your projects, by asking questions like:

Who's the target audience? What are their needs? What needs to be communicated? What are their goals?

For me, I'm increasingly trying to influence our team of developers to adopt best practices/corporate standards. Developers have a lot to do, and a lot of constraints, and not much time. So I've been focusing on delivering working code as guidelines. That means functional javascript in HTML prototypes that show the desired interaction patterns. That means codifying look and feel guidelines in the CSS.

That also means that you can develop browser-based UX unit test cases using tools like Selenium to ensure that you're guidelines are being met. If you include this type of test in the build process, then they get checked every time the code base changes, and developers (and you) can be notified automatically and instantly when something isn't up to spec.

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  • Thanks for sharing the slideshare presentation, it's on my reading list. Usually I use balsamiq to share simple GUI-flows or -patterns. For more complex or detailed situations, I use Axure (including the prototypes). Never heard of Selenium. Do you know if it's also suitable for testing Silverlight applications? – Rene Jun 8 '12 at 9:40
  • Google says there are some options for testing Silverlight Apps with Selenium: See hanselman.com/blog/UnitTestingSilverlightWithSelenium.aspx and code.google.com/p/silverlight-selenium – fitzgeraldsteele Jun 8 '12 at 19:09
  • He says it's a long term project. He might not be there forever. Key to good guidelines is that they're kept up to date. Who is going to maintain the code after he left? But thinking about the needs of the target audience is great though. – greenforest Jun 9 '12 at 7:36

Working on a styleguide now. It's in HTML, running on a local server. There are several reasons for rendering it on the web: 1. It's very easy to share, navigate and search. 2. You can see interactions and behaviors as they will appear to users. 3. Code snippets -- a styleguide isn't much use to developers, unless you provide the .css, .js and .htm files they need and demonstrate usage. 4. Ease of updating. OK, updating a sitelet isn't as easy as changing a Word file, but the enhanced utility makes it worth the effort.

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  • Thank you for the answer. Do you use any special tools for updating the website? I mean, a special kind of CMS? – Rene Jun 11 '12 at 12:41
  • Notepad++ -- it's a free editing tool. Adobe's Dreamweaver offers a lot more options and WYSIWYG editing. As for a CMS, Wordpress is dead easy and free. Probably some of the open source wikis could serve well too, although you may want tighter permission controls on who can edit. – RobC Jun 12 '12 at 18:36
  • Last week a colleague showed me pea.rs - Pears, a Wordpress theme for styleguides and pattern libraries. Looks pretty good. We may shift our syleguide to Pears soon. – RobC Jul 5 '12 at 19:24

When I worked as part of a dev team at Oracle we had a policy that all docs including UX guidelines had to be in html... so that they could be easily shared and edited.

Worked well.

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  • Did you code all html yourself, or did you make use of a certain CMS. Like a wiki or a blog system or share point? – Rene Jun 8 '12 at 9:35
  • This is a while back.. so we used whatever tools we wished. It was all stored in our own version control system. I am sure it is different now. – Lisa Tweedie Jun 8 '12 at 11:05

I usually use Axure to create UX related documents. It allows you to generate a website very easily and you can also show interactivity of the UI to demonstrate a certain interaction pattern. Everyone can easily access the website and you can also provide a link to a specific page on the site if you want to communicate some specific area. Having an interactive guide where you can try an example showing a UX guideline is also probably more fun for the readers of the guides.

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  • I use Axure too. I love it and probably addicted to it (don't get lost in prototyping too much details). Do you use the separate description fields for annotations or do you put them as text in the screens? – Rene Jun 8 '12 at 9:41
  • I often just put the text on the screen. I noticed that sometimes the teams (devs, test) could miss notes that are hidden. The downside of notes on the screen is that it clutters the screen though. I would be nice to have a functionality to Show All Notes at once. – Anna Rouben Jun 8 '12 at 18:27

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