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CD as Prototyping Tool with Visio & Excel

At our shop we've been playing around with CD as a site prototyping tool. I've been working with our information architect to develop a solution whereby he enters a site hierarchy into Excel, exports it into a fairly detailed chart using Visio's Org Chart Wizard, then turns around and exports that same data into CD tables through Access, whereby we can create very rough pages to give clients a design-less, content-limited preview of what their site will look like. This is a *significant* time savings from what we've done in the past to show initial IA and navigation to clients prior to the design phase.

Just wondering if anyone else is pursuing this sort of thing, and if so, what kinds of things they've found...particularly around the Excel to Access to CD side of things.

Joel Grossman
Thursday, April 25, 2002

This sounds intriguing, but I can't say I understand what you are doing. Can you elaborate on what this accomplishes and what the advantages are over just reusing CD articles and templates?

Dick Dillon
Monday, May 6, 2002

I'm the IA that works with Joel G (above) so I may shed some light. In our IA process we have a number of deliverables, such as:

A content inventory (a hierarchical list of all content for the site)
An IA chart (essentially a "flowchart" view of the list)
A preview site (a simple, content-only version of the site)

Each of these deliverables need buy off from the client and each of these deliverables builds on the previous. However, "conventionally," these deliverables are built separately, starting virtually from scratch for each deliverable.

What we've been doing is finding ways to pass the critical data from one deliverable to the next in order to save time. To do this form the content inventory to the IA chart, we've investigated the optimum way to import info from Excel to Visio (which Joel mentions is Visio's Org Chart Wizard).

The next step is to find the best way to pass data from Visio or Excel into the preview site. CD’s database format seems to be an excellent vehicle in which to do so.

Chas Swedberg
Tuesday, May 28, 2002

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