August 3, 2006, 10:23 am
Should AJAX Wireframes be Different?
By Henry Woodbury
Kevin Hale at Particletree has a pair of articles on prototyping and wireframing AJAX applications. These are excellent primers for web designers interested in working with AJAX developers. I learned some CSS details that will help me out. However, I think Hale misses one key point of prototyping and wireframing almost entirely.
That point is risk management. When a design is still under review, when process steps are still being determined, box wireframes and bitmap design comps allow an information architect and designer to develop ideas quickly and revise or even abandon them with minimal pain. At Dynamic Diagrams we prefer to avoid coding designs until we have agreement on all the major elements of the interface. If we can do at least some usability testing with bitmaps, that’s even better.
But what of the demands of the interactive AJAX-driven interfaces that Hale describes? One risk-free way to show AJAX interactivity is to present work you’ve already done, perhaps from your own development library. Once stakeholders agree about the types of interactivity they want, an actual interface can almost always be modeled as a sequence of static wireframes, convertible to static bitmaps: Here are the elements at point x; Here they are at point y. More useful than a working prototype at this stage may be a workflow diagram that shows an entire sequence of steps in one view:
This diagram shows the interaction of different user types with a help ticket, describes when that object changes status (open, under review, closed), and identifies which pages in the process have multiple functions — crucial information for an AJAX developer to understand.
All this said, there (usually) comes a time when a project advances beyond wireframes and design comps to coding and development. At this point, for the web designers working with AJAX developers, Hale’s advice makes a lot of sense.
I cannot see the detail of the image, so I cannot comment.. Please, oh please link a larger image..
Posted by mw on February 1, 2009 at 1:06 pm