We are Visual Communicators, not Wireframe Artists

At the end of the day, we are designers of visual communication design. Sometimes our ‘language’ changes depending on the person we are speaking to. For example, I wouldn’t speak French to someone who only speaks English, would I? No. But I could take that same message and craft it in a way that they would understand.

Sooooo…wireframes?

The intention of wireframes are to get across the idea of the digital interface at a high level. This may consist of the flow, the interaction, and/or the organization of the interface clearly and quickly so we can see what works and doesn’t work. Wireframes are useful in showing how various digital interfaces scale to different devices. These are only a few. However, there are times (more often than not; in my experience) where stakeholders will get hung up on the ‘design’ of wireframes no matter how much you tell them to disregard the ‘beautiful’ greyscale color scheme.

So, is the wireframe ‘too’ designed? Is it not designed enough?

Client: “Why is the background grey? Our brand is purple. Is our website going to have that font that looks like your handwriting?”
DesignerUXUnicorn: “..IT’S A WIREFRAME! NOT THE DESIGN!”

Your process should be flexible and the story should make sense for that specific stakeholder audience. Some stakeholders may understand the same user goal through an infographic that another stakeholder may understand through a high fidelity wireframe.

We take the goals of the users and the stakeholders and we communicate that visually. Everything from the way we present our ideas to communicating those goals in the actual product, can change the path of the design. Communication and presentation is key.

Conclusion

  1. Understand your stakeholders. Do they emphasize design, features, content, etc. What is important to them? What are things they notice?
  2. Go through your process. Do you need wireframes? Do you need user journey maps? Do everything you need to do to work through that problem.
  3. Figure out how to chunk and deliver those outcomes throughout meetings to communicate the story that are trying to tell. Start with the high level goals, then dig deeper into detail so they wont become hung up on the alignment of the text or the color of a link.