The system architect or the software designer prepares the design document that describes the product in detail. It acts as a beginning point for the product development team. These documents help in providing a broad vision to all the teams involved in product development.
Design documents are classified either as high level and low level design documents or functional and technical design documents.
However, the typical sections in a design document include the following:
- The basic architecture of the system lists out the components and the logical and informational flow between the various components. It is normally depicted in the form of an architecture diagram or a table.
- The interface elements of the system details the various interfaces including the human interface to the system.
- The procedural design of the system explains the programming constructs such as the procedures, methods, and references that are necessary to build the system. This is typical to the software development process.
Information from the design documents can be used for various end user documents such as the following:
- User’s Guide - The detailed technical specifications, the list of features and their explanation can be used to prepare and update the User’s Guide.
- Online Help - The features and the interrelationship between the various components can be used to prepare or update the Online Help.
- Installation manuals - The detailed technical specifications, the components of the system, and the details to begin using the system can be used to prepare or update the installation or configuration manuals.
- API documentation - The high-level technical information such as the procedural elements and programming constructs can be used to prepare and update the API deliverables.
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