In my new job, I've been doing a lot of interaction design for a highly capable rich Internet application. It's a great job so far and I'm really enjoying it, except for one thing: I am almost never on time finishing things.
I did a fair amount of project management in my previous jobs, and missing deadlines bothers me. As a result, I've been feeling pretty stressed lately at work. Thinking about the problem over the winter holidays, I realized I've been underestimating two important learning curves.
The first is what I need to learn about the system. After four months, I've learned a great deal about how everything works, but there's still a lot I don't yet understand. There's no documentation to review -- I have to experiment with the system and talk to developers to get up to speed. Typically, the biggest problems arise from questions I didn't know to ask.
The second issue is how to document interaction for rich Internet applications. Up to now, I've used annotated storyboards to document for stakeholders, developers, and QA. There are good, well-received articles online describing how to do this, but in my work I've seen problems. With some interactions, even the best description possible doesn't quite convey what you want to see in moving, 3D, real life. In these cases you need an interactive prototype.
Specific tools exist for interactive prototyping, but what I'd really like is to learn Flash better, and use that to illustrate how UI such as drag-and-drop should function. I could learn Axure, or another interactive prototyping tool, but with Flash I'd have a much more flexible skill. The problem is making the time to become proficient in Flash! As a stopgap, I've been messing around with interactive prototypes made from Visio and Acrobat, and even from Powerpoint.