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what the voices in my head tell me to write

Saturday, January 13, 2007

taking wireframes too literally 

Or when to just admit something won't fit.

Sometimes you get given some wireframes and page mock-ups that just cant be done. The most annoying sort are ones that look simple but due to the limitations of the technologies your working with you just can't acheive the "layout" in a wireframe.

A lot of people seem to think that a wireframe is a page mock up. To my mind they are two totally different things. A wireframe shows the content that should go on the page. It illustrates groups of content and the relationships between content but it isn't prescriptive in how you implement the layout. A page mock up is one step down from the final HTML. It has nearly all the features of the final page and looks pretty much like how the final page should look.

So why do so many people treat wireframes as mock ups? They get so annoyed if you tell them "It won't work that way".

Of course web developers like to think they can achieve any layout you care to dream up. And pretty much say that sort of stuff regulary. Give them the change to hand code every last bit of code and this is easyish. Once you start working with code that generates code you are hamstrung by the quality of the generated code. If your code generating code writes bad HTML there is nothing you can do about it.

So in this situation even the most carefully crafted page mock up might be impossible.

The moral of the story is you dont know exactly how things will turn out until you try them.

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