DonnaM » Blog Archive » Messing with my wireframes

Messing with my wireframes

So why is it that graphic designers think that a wireframe (when they do know what a wireframe is) is only a vague suggestion on how the page should be laid out.

Before I give anyone a wireframe, I have thought long and hard about what I need to communicate, placement of elements, and relationships between items.

Why would anyone think that I’d want a whole section of the page to be removed from the interface and hidden in a drop-down item, or the most-used interaction item to be hidden away in the corner. If I wanted a drop-down or a hidden utility, I would have hidden them in the first place!

4 Responses to “Messing with my wireframes”

  1. Joshua Kaufman Says:

    Is there a formal workflow in place? Does everyone know their role in that workflow? Does everyone generally know what their role entails?

  2. George Olsen Says:

    Ummm, graphic designers tend to regard wireframes as suggestions because they also think “long and hard about what I need to communicate, placement of elements, and relationships between items.”

    Can’t speak to your specific circumstances, nor the skill of your particular graphic designers. But it sounds like they were kind of left to paint by numbers and “make things pretty.” Like other folks, designers get a wee bit cranky when they think someone else is doing “their” job.

    Which is why it’s critical to involve them in the wireframing process as a team. That way they understand what your UI/IA person’s goals are and the UI/IA person can leverage the designers skills and knowledge. Designers do have centuries of beta testing experience behind them, and the good ones certainly do more than just acting as stylists.

  3. Joe Says:

    Responding to this more than a year after the fact, but it’s attitudes like yours that rile me and, frankly, piss me off beyond belief. Like the authors of the previous comments, I don’t know what your formal workflow/process is like, but another key element is demeanor. Yes, involve your visual designers early in the game, but, also, know that questions like “So why is it that graphic designers think that a wireframe (when they do know what a wireframe is) is only a vague suggestion on how the page should be laid out?” and statements like “Before I give anyone a wireframe, I have thought long and hard about what I need to communicate, placement of elements, and relationships between items” sound a lot like “Why can’t these idiots that I’m working with understand that I’m the only one qualified to come up with ideas?” and “I do a lot of thinking as a part of my job, as opposed to the job you have, which requires no thought whatsoever and, in fact, is akin to manual labor.”

    The graphic designer believes that you have zero respect for what he/she does. Fix that and you’ll fix your workflow problem.

  4. Donna Maurer Says:

    Gosh, long time since this happened. In this situation, the wireframes were passed off to a visual designer without my knowledge – I was using an internal visual designer (we had worked together and well), but another team gave them to an external designer who changed the layout significantly…

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