Swimlanes is an early-process documentation method created by Yvone Shek and the folks at nForm. As the image above demonstrates (here’s a closer look), multiple perspectives on a given use-case or design scenario are laid out in separate tracks, or “swim-lanes.” The idea is to capture and visualize implications of high-level requirements over time and in a parallel fashion.
This is good because multiple stakeholders (business people, designers, project mangers, technologists) can see and give feedback on what they need to make happen/accomodate to, leading to a potentially more balanced and inclusive discussion.
To my mind, the key challenge here is making such a sophistic and integrated document like this flexible and agile. (We talked about the speed factor a lot, but I’m more concerned about the rigidity factor.) For more details on Swimlanes, check out Yvone’s original post here.
Next up: Five Sketches, Or Else! design process
Photo credit: mastermaq