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Thread: To wireframe or to not wireframe. That's the question.

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    Default To wireframe or to not wireframe. That's the question.

    I hate doing wire frames. It just adds so much unnecessary work to a project, especially low cost projects.
    On the one hand, if you're building completely from scratch it makes sense for the developer to create and submit a mock up.

    On the other, it's a nightmare when the client has come up with a PDF that they basically just drew with no understanding of design, copy writing, or anything else...just based on what they think is pretty and then want that "converted" into a WordPress theme. Those NEVER end up like the PDF because it's generally garbage, and you spend so much time on correcting the PDF that you could have just built the site and made any layout and style changes on the fly.

    Also, I've never had anyone "come up with" a design that doesn't already exist. Most websites follow about the same 5 layouts. Functions aside, structure is pretty much the same. So wire framing something that already exists to me wastes time. Just look at this thing that already exists, I'll photo shop your colors and images over it, and let's get this thing going.

    Even though I suspect my website design days are going to be behind me soon, just wondering what others do or how they feel about wire frames.

    The end result doesn't change. Great website. Done. I just expect people on a budget to have a little imagination, and if you've seen my other work and like it...some faith.

    What do you guys think?

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    I agree wire framing is not a great use of time, especially in the low cost projects. Although I deal more in the application space rather than web site (I have done a couple over the years). I like to follow the Agile process - deliver something that meets the minimum requirement, deliver it to the customer and modify based on the feedback. Iterate through this process until the project is complete.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattkuter View Post
    I like to follow the Agile process - deliver something that meets the minimum requirement, deliver it to the customer and modify based on the feedback. Iterate through this process until the project is complete.
    Yes! Same here. I mean we already know certain elements are constants. Actually most. After that it just becomes a different interpretation of the same thing and that ALWAYS changes once the actual content starts going in. Most times. Not all.

    I've done nightclub, music, and photography projects that demand a higher level of design and creativity and that's understandable because they aren't generally trying to target every demographic on every possible kind of device, and they will sacrifice things like a 300 word per page SEO rule to get the look and function they want.

    When people who have simple (or what I know to be simple) demand that it be done this way, 2 weeks of wire framing, discussing each detail to death before we even put anything online to actually see what it really looks like, I have to charge them more. Add in other time wasters like poor communication skills, and too many cooks in the kitchen and that is how what could be a quick say...$1,500 website becomes a 3+ month $4k+ website. And the end result is the same exact same that is still exactly what they wanted from the beginning.

    I used to think a lot of web designers were unscrupulous for charging people thousands for simple websites. However, after 8 years in now I see it. People cost themselves more money because they slow the process down. Organized people ALWAYS pay less.

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    When you're working with a larger organization and there are several people who need to sign off before you continue, I think they make sense. It's a quick way to show multiple people how the site will look and work. I agree on smaller projects where you're working for one or maybe two people, you don't need wireframes.

    Over the years I developed a process where I would design in the browser. I'd set up a few paragraphs with typographic options and have my client choose which they preferred. Then I'd show some color samples on the page and I'd let them choose. Then I'd swap to some real content and design a layout to hold it all. It was essentially a wireframe with some content mixed in I'd tweak it based on client feedback and then I'd add the color and start designing details and refining the page until my client said it was good.

    Working that way kept the client in the loop through the whole process. They felt more ownership of the site because they were making decisions from beginning to end. My job was to come up with several different options I knew would work and let them choose which one they liked best. My job was to guide them through designing their own site in many respects. There was an unexpected benefit too in that I could easily charge for changes that came late in the project and required a lot of work. It was difficult for my clients to object when they knew it was their decision and that they had plenty of time to change their mind earlier.
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    I usually do that live. Once I know the basic layout, I like getting the thing going and we can tweak along the way no problem. I agree, with large companies it's unavoidable, but they're also paying for the process and you know ahead of time. Some larger companies are good about setting realistic long deadlines because they know how long it takes to get the simplest thing done in their company. I appreciate when people are honest about it.

    The people who waste the most amount of your time and money are those that think they have it all under control and clearly don't, who are never available by phone, and take a week to answer a simple email. Those people are nightmares, but I'm digressing into my long standing pet peeve of crappy business people who can't work simple communication tools efficiently.

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