Queron Jephcott Team : User Experience and Information Architecture Tags : Web Design Information Architecture

How Hi is Lofi

Queron Jephcott Team : User Experience and Information Architecture Tags : Web Design Information Architecture

As prototyping tools such as Axure increase in features, our prototypes are becoming more and more complicated. Gone are the days of reputably delivering a user interface design as a series of coloured scribbles on a stack of butcher’s paper. However, with this increasing complexity come client’s expectations to see a complex prototype. You can’t blame them. We tell them our prototyping tools can animate multiple 3D spinning arrows.

What I get worried about is the amount of colours, fonts and borders that start to appear in these tools. As a user interface designer, my skills in creative design are sufficient to format a Word document, however when it comes to web sites, I end up with web sites that look like Word documents. Ideally this shouldn’t concern me as I have a very talented creative team to take my mesh of black lines and Latin and create an amazingly aesthetic look and feel.

However, if I start feeling I have to put in colours and backgrounds and branding into my prototypes because now my clients are expecting better and better prototypes. I know I’m going to be inflicting the creative team with design decisions I shouldn’t be making.

So is there a benefit to the ever growing list of features in these prototyping tools? There is.

The new features that impress me are the ones that help define the line between user interface design and creative design. The easy example is sketchiness. Sketchy is the ‘technical’ term for making digital wireframes look like their hand drawn. Hand drawn wireframes help people look past the correct font of the page title or the correct corporate approved shade of grey to use for all backgrounds. People are always going to want to see ‘what their web site will look like’, but sketchy lines help us explain why user interface wireframes aren’t right for this.

In terms of Axure, I’m a fan of the new sketchy option. I’d like to see them add a little more variance in the lines. After all we don’t draw every line exactly the same. That aside, it’s great to have the option of sketchy lines that can snapped straight and ready for a functional specification.

When Axure’s not an option, I’ve been using sketchy wireframes for a couple years with Visio. I was inspired from Visio Guy’s post of ‘Indexed’ Shapes.

Using this technique, you can create a set of shapes, square, triangle, line and circle and pretty much build any UI element from there.