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An article I read last year stated, “User Interface Design is a
Contact Sport”. Translation: Every department involved with
creating a Web site or application wants a piece of, if not
control, of the entire design. As a designer engaged in Web and
application interface design, I have witnessed this conflict first
hand. I have also seen this passionately discussed in AIGA Forums
(e.g. Topic #13: Other groups encroaching on design, published May
30th in GAIN).
Coming to the table
Like it or not, disciplines other than graphic design are holding
sway over composition and layout of Web sites and applications.
More and more, clients are investing major resources into corporate
Web sites as a primary means of communicating their value to their
customers. If designers want to bring their expertise to this
rapidly expanding industry, they will have to come to the table
with information architects, human factors professionals, and user
experience professionals. To that end, the Philadelphia chapter of
AIGA, and PhiCHI* are holding a series of
discussions where members of these disciplines will come
together to discuss the emerging overlapping responsibilities of
their professions. The first topic on the table deals with one of
the biggest areas of contention, the wireframe. For
those of you who have not yet encountered them, wireframes are
generally created by information architects or user experience
professionals to suggest the layout and placement of fundamental
design elements in the interface design.
The questions on the table
For many designers, wireframes represent a loss of control over
page composition and layout, traditionally under the purview of
graphic designers. So, the first question to designers in this
forum is: How do you feel when you are handed a wireframe
to design? Say more than “I feel _.” We would like to hear
the reasons behind your feelings. What concerns you about adhering
to a wireframe? A second question is: Do you have any
questions that you would like to hear user experience
professionals, information architects, or human factors
professionals answer? Frame your question with the purpose
of trying to understand their point of view. They may not have been
exposed to design concepts you've long understood. Your question
may be the first time they've thought about it. I urge designers
reading this forum to participate in this dialog. Please respond to
this post and state your case. *PhiCHI: Philadelphia local chapter of the Association for
Computing Machinery's Special Interest Group on Computer Human
Interaction (ACM SIGCHI)
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