DrupalCon 2011: The Right Way to Wireframe

When I was just starting to do design work I started off with a variety of tools – xacto blades, compass cutters, spray fixative, proportion wheels, t-squares and other oddities no longer employed. They were physical objects requiring repetitive practice, feel and sometimes muscle memory.

Transitioning to online design, has not changed the fundamental aspects of problem solving of design, but simply the tools used. Going to “The right way to wireframe” presentation by Russ Unger both confirmed this belief and raised a question in my mind: where does User experience (UX) design differentiate from visual design?

I don’t feel that they do.

Russ went over a sample process that 4 UX designers went about independently solving the same design problem and this step involved a second stage o passing off wireframes to visual designers to produce a final product.

This is somewhat alien to me in that I feel a visual designer should be involved in both processes. I can see an advantage in separating out the process but never find myself having this luxury. I am always the visual designer, UX designer and going off examples in this presentation, I apparently fulfill the role of Business Analyst. This wholistic approach does offer advantages. I can better connect with a client to meet their needs, and am more aware of potential limitations and pitfalls of implementation. It also introduces an expense- it is far easier to juggle one ball than three.

So what’s the optimal division of labor? Difficult to answer but having to juggle 3 different objects at least informs you of the difficulty of each individually.