When we reviewed job adverts at the BBC to understand how the market was defining the various UX job titles, the unifying part of information architect job descriptions was creating wireframes. It seems to remain the main deliverable IAs get asked to produce.
But ‘wireframe maker’ is a label that pretty much everyone would deny (except in their most maudlin moments) and it hardly covers the breadth or the essence of what we do.
I’ve been relieved to see a designer producing wireframes, as it (might have) indicated a UX style approach to design. But I’d have been upset if they’d told me my job = wire framing so it was probably a bit perverse to be particularly reassured.
It seems at the moment wireframes are being squeezed by sketching on the one side and prototyping on the other (although I’d argue these are part of same tradition rather than a revolution). But still the wireframes get produced.
So what do they prove?
- they show a way of thinking: what things, what relationships, what priority, a below the surface layer way of thinking
- they are a way of communication: one that encourages focus on things+relationship+priorities again, one that helps with building and enables it to begin earlier, and possibly one that invites more collaboration because it says “this isn’t finished”
I don’t think these proofs mean the wireframes are especially necessary, just that these are things that creating wireframes might signify about the person who made them.