Doing it the Hard Way

I love efficiency. I cut out and consolidate steps in my working processes every time I can. Unfortunately there are some things that resist my optimizing ways. I am currently in the midst of a website project where I am in charge of wireframes. This is a long drawn out process that begs for optimization, but the benefits of doing it the long way are just too valuable to lose.

In the past I have fooled myself into thinking that it was sufficient to break down the site map into tiers; home page, section landing pages (tier 1), and subpages (tier 2). Then I would simply wireframe a couple of variations of each tier and go from there.

People more experienced than I are probably, justifiably, chuckling to themselves as they read this. Thinking this was efficient has actually lead to inaccurate scope estimates, longer development times, and compromised design. The best method I have found is to take the “long, hard, stupid way” and do wireframes for every single page on the site. This forces me to deal with every interaction and piece of content on the site. The benefits are found in more accurate estimates of time and cost, making sure the designer knows about everything so he doesn’t leave important decisions to others, and insight that strengthens the designer’s position when advocating for their work.

There are plenty of opportunities to streamline little things when making wireframes but sometimes doing less really is just less.