Functional specifications

A functional specification document is a more complex form of a storyboard which combines target audience information, wireframes, flowcharts and storyboards. This type of document is often used when all of the content must be reviewed prior to development of the online product. This is typically the case when a developer and instructional designers work in isolation from one another and need all details to be documented.

A functional specification (also known as functional spec, specs, functional specifications document (FSD), or program specification) is the documentation that describes the resource to be developed. It is completed by the writer or instructional designer and is handed over to the developer, complete with content, media and instructions.

Editing and proofreading can also be carried out on content using this method, before it is placed in the product by developers, minimising redevelopment and online changes to content. Sign-off of content can be obtained from clients and stakeholders using this detailed version of a storyboard.

On the other hand, a functional specification can also be a living document used as a form of ongoing communication between the various members of the team, depending on how it is implemented.

The following example demonstrates the type of information you might find in a functional specification, although format and detail will vary.