Based on my past experience with presenting wireframes to stakeholders, I believe many designers and UX specialists run into the same issues related to persuasion, understanding and collaboration. Here are some ways to mitigate some of the challenges of these wireframe review meetings.
The Problem of Abstraction
The Power of Suggestion
Some people are abstraction geniuses, but for the rest of us it’s mental gymnastics. For example, I used to work with a product designer who made high end tools that looked like they came from outer space.During his paper sketching phases, it would be impossible for me to get a feel for the final product. The 3-d renderings were easier to digest, but nothing compared to holding the final product. It was always interesting to see where I was off on my assumptions about how the tool would work, feel, weigh, and look.
One of his renderings vs. the final product, used with permission
Similarly, as soon as any type of mockup or sketch of your web site is presented, each person who sees it begins constructing a different vision in their head of how the final product should look and feel. Assumptions and heuristics allow us all to function with efficiency in life. You, your clients, and team members are all employing these mental tools during the project. This is perfectly reasonable behavior, but it creates risk for unmet expectations. We have the ability to lessen this burden, though, and I’m going to flesh out specific ways to do this in my upcoming posts.
A means of persuasion. Your wireframes and the way you present them are a powerful tool of influence that steers the whole project. If your solution is slightly under-baked but you’re a great salesperson, you may be able to push through to approval (possibly against the best interests of the project). On the other hand, you might have a great solution but be unskilled at selling it with confidence and enthusiasm and so it isn’t as well received. Thankfully, we have a way to help minimize this problem. Continue reading