Friday, March 18, 2005

Wireframe UX

I love creating wireframes. They're my reward for doing all of the prerequisite grunt work of Client need analysis, user analysis, information architecture and mapping. While sometimes arduous, wireframing is the time when you first see all of your work come together.

Since they're also eagerly anticipated by Clients and stakeholders, it's important that wireframes provide a positive user experience. They're primarily communication tools that depict site layout, navigational elements, content priorities and the site interface. They also act as integrators, bringing content, engineering, visual design, information structure and UX together in a single document. Their most important function is to create a prototype, a "shared space" that facilitates collaboration and innovation. To that end, it's important that wireframes be as clear as possible.

Dan Brown helps us reach that goal with his outstanding poster, Representing Data in Wireframes (PDF). It's a huge (three by six feet) guide to "techniques for representing sample data and information in a wireframe, the risks associated with each technique, and best practices for applying them." Although you'd need a large format printer to actually produce the thing, it's perfectly readable at high magnification in Adobe Acrobat. Get it while it's hot.


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