Why Static Wireframing Is Dead

April 9, 2009

in design,innovate

My static wireframe with drop shadows and click arrows.

My static wireframe with drop shadows and click arrows.

Over the years I have painstakingly poured over simple to complex wireframes for client work and it always seems to net the same results and questions. No matter how hard I try to convey my ideas, there is still a lot left to imagination which seems to create more questions, more concerns and many more wireframes. I have tried giving more fidelity with visual direction like; drop shadows, arrows and descriptive text filled with action and interactive words. In presentation meetings I stand in front of my projected images and dance through each slide, utilizing as many verbal and non-verbal cues as I can muster. Of course I enjoy walking and talking through the intent and emotion of my ideas, but it is a huge expense of energy. And inevitably there are concepts lost in the fray.

In the course of a month I have attended 2 workshops and 2 conferences where the anthem is the same: We can do better. Our design process should be better. It should mimic the true iterative, fast paced nature of not just our industry but the products we create. Designers and developers alike are asked to be efficiency experts for our clients and the dreams and vision they invite us to build, yet we are not able to provide the same for ourselves, our daily work and the weeks and months it takes to bring an idea to reality.

It has not always been our fault. We do what needs to get done with what we have in front of us. I had always hoped for better, thinking that I could just fix the pass-off process between design and dev or devise a better overall production system where everything ‘just works’. *Insert Magic Here* But change is frequently difficult to create and sell to teams, because it involves more time to adapt in the beginning; time being the one precious nutrient we can never seem to get enough of.

This is a call to arms to every designer and developer in the community. Let’s unify our efforts. If we combine our process with the right tools we can answer the designer question: Will this FEEL like we want? And the developer question: Can we build these ideas? Yes, I am talking about Sketchflow in Blend 3. It’s the first time I have seen a software tool truly solve these issues and answer our battle cries. No more smoke and mirrors, no more duct tape. We deserve better and haven’t we earned it?!

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