With the workflow decided, the next step is to define the look and feel forthe application's user interface. At this point, you will finally have tocommit to things like the interface metaphor, screen colors, branding andrelated items. Much of this information will come from detailed discussionswith the organization's interface design team, and will be based heavily onthe prototypes created in the previous stage.
Care should be taken at this point to ensure that the filling in of theskeletal structure decided in the previous phase does not have the unwantedeffect of making previously-simple items complicated - for example, byadding visual enhancements that distract (rather than enhance) the userexperience. The typical example here is that of the flashing banneradvertisement - it's a definite attention-getter, but it usually ends upannoying more users than gaining customers. And if you're building a newproduct, anything that increases your user's already-high stress level is adefinite no-no.
It is for this reason that you, in the role of specification writer andmoderator, must interact closely with the interface design team and providefeedback if the interface begins complicating, rather than simplifying,common functions. As in all other aspects of life, the KISS principle has arole to play here too.
It's important to take into account the client's branding requirements atthis stage also. Selection of the screen colours, a clearly-visible logo orbrand image, the attitude and spirit conveyed by the various elements of theinterface must all be in sync with the client's needs and desired image. Tothis end, care should be taken to involve the client's marketing or brandequity personnel in discussions of the user interface, so as to avoid designchanges at a later date.