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I'm looking for a noun that describes the process of "Designing / devising a concept". For example for a website: Means writing a general concept for the designer and developers, sketching wireframes, describing features and so.

  • I'm unhappy with "Design" because I could be misunderstood with designing the actual graphic design
  • I guess "conceptual design" isn't used widely
  • and "conceptions" seems to be used in a more philosophical sense (e.g. conceptions of the world).
  • In German we would use "Konzeption" or "Kon­zep­ti­o­nie­rung" but "conceptualization" sounds weird to me.

Which noun would you suggest? Am I right with my interpretations of the listed options?

  • Though I don't personally like it, in software development and IT circles, I've heard "architecting" (blech!). – Dan Bron Oct 16 '14 at 11:09
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I have never heard them described at conceptions, but I often hear the term 'concepts' to describe documents produced during the early stages of a project, but I would usually expect to see design mock-ups rather than read about features. I think it could still work for your purpose, however.

For me, Conceptual design is suggestive of a new, innovative product. I agree with you about the use of the word 'design', as that does suggest you are working purely on how it looks.

I'm a web designer and although it sounds a bit simplistic, we call our version of the document the 'project plan'. In essence, you are planning what the website should do and how it should work.

Previously it might have been called a 'site map' so you could also say that you are 'mapping' out the site.

If the document is something that would ultimately require sign-off from the client, then we would say we were working on the 'project proposal'

Even if the document does not fully explain the features and functionality of the site, I would argue you are working on the first draft of the 'project specification'

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The first step would be to create a top level layout. This displays the appearance and major features of the site. You can use this to show your customers how the site meets their goals.

This is also used to drive the detailed design and implementation steps.

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I would lean toward specification. We create detailed design specifications or simply design specifications. These encompass the appearance and behavior, and provide guidance for implementation while not allowing deviation from the embodied concepts.

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