Communications of the Association for Information Systems


Hypermedia systems development is, in many regards, different from "conventional" systems development, chief amongst these differences being its multidisciplinary nature. Foremost amongst the roles in hypermedia development are software engineering and graphic design. However, traditionally the tension between software engineers and graphic designers is pronounced. It is therefore important to gain an understanding of the differences between the two camps with a view to bringing them closer together. This paper reports on the findings of a survey of hypermedia developers conducted in Ireland. One of the objectives of the survey was to compare and contrast the development approaches, methods, and techniques used by software engineers with those used by graphic designers. It was found that software engineers and graphic designers are much closer than might be believed in their attitudes on the value and importance of processes and documented working methods. However, graphic designers primarily base development approaches around the use of specific tools, whereas software engineers are more reliant on traditional and object-oriented software development methods. Regarding diagramming methods, there is some evidence of cross-pollination, as software engineers often use informal techniques such as storyboarding and graphic designers use software engineering techniques such as use case diagrams, but graphic designers find software engineering techniques to be less useful than vice versa.