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I heart wireframes.

I've spent about 20 hours over the last two days building wireframes to assist the GUI developers. Let me make something clear: I really don't heart wireframes. But it did make me realize how important it is that everyone in any organization really understand the product from back to front. It also reinforced the extent to which, agile development or not, there's no room for ambiguity or assumptions if you're truly concerned with getting the user experience right. What I mean is it's no use having us marketing types pontificate in purely general terms about how we'd like things to work; if we really want to have any influence we need to get our hands dirty.

Marketers get frustrated with engineers because they often feel as though the engineers are speaking a different language. (More often it's simply that marketers shut down instinctively when they hear words that sound remotely like techspeak.) Engineers get frustrated with marketers because they often feel as though the marketers trivialize what it takes to get the product right. The result is a yawning chasm between expectations on both sides: of what the product is, how it does work and how it should work. It also leads to misguided marketing (because marketers don't understand what they're selling) and misguided product development (because engineering isn't alinged with what's saleable).

This chasm is easier to avoid in a startup than, for example, a large software development firm, but I'm happy to immerse myself in wireframes if it means getting the product right now, not trying to fix it later, hampered by entirely avoidable disconnects and misinterpretations.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 23, 2007 4:12 PM.

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