Send me problems, not wireframes(

5 years ago from Ariel Verber, Product Designer

  • Brian A.Brian A., 5 years ago

    I see what you're getting at, but I don't 100% agree. More often than not (in my experience, at least), clients have a lot of difficulty articulating their needs and problems. Getting a wireframe at the outset usually cuts out a lot of unproductive back-and-forth and gets everyone to the solution more quickly.

    That said, this only works if everyone is operating under the understanding that the wireframes are only suggestions and that you, the designer, will be interpreting them and modifying them appropriately based on the business needs. To your point, though, a lot of clients don't operate that way and just want you take what they've made and make it "nice".

    5 points
    • Scott ThomasScott Thomas, 5 years ago

      I agree. Using their scenario of the napkin. The architect gets the sense of the size and priority of each room, which starts the conversation from point B rather then A.

      My take of the article is about communication. If you tossed the client's idea on a designer desk and say give me 3 ideas at the end of the day with no context... thats were you get the pretty but pointless solutions. Sadly, you are right I have many clients that just want to make it "nice" and quick.

      2 points
    • Sean LesterSean Lester, 5 years ago

      My process, right or wrong, is to take whatever is given (sometimes loose guidelines, sometimes wires) and make one version very quickly that hits the high level and then take that to the PM. This is in the context of being a designer internal to a large product company. The other designers on my team don't do as well here because of the difference between my approach and theirs. They want to take a long time to put together a few highly polishes ideas to pitch — but they're really just wasting time. In my experience, it's best to get my idea of what the PM wants out to them as quickly as possible so we can look at it and I can tell them "Here's the problem with what you want to do. What I think would be better is if we did this."

      Like you said, a lot of times they don't fully know what they want or even totally understand what they're asking for — once you get something as concrete as a high fidelity mock or prototype in front of them it's far easier to clarify their thoughts in greater detail or disabuse them of ideas that aren't going to work so that you can explore better solutions.

      That said, we're dealing (and not just me) with a big problem of endless iteration cycles and pivoting on goals and directions late into the lifecycle of these projects and we desperately need to find a solution to it because at this point we're designing in circles for far too long, then shipping a terrible "compromise" — discover in tests that it isn't working and typically circle back to something closer to my initial intuitions or proposals. Not to be arrogant, I don't think I've always got the answers, it just is very frustrating to be consistently treated as lower the decision hierarchy while the people who have supremacy in it are proven wrong time and time again. PMs are not designers, and you can't just "discover" good UX somewhere between a PM and a product designer who is treated as a visual designer — particularly when the relationship is hierarchical.

      2 points