Posted on: 19 March 2015
5 Tips to Wireframing in Teams
Designing intentional interactions is a fun and creative activity that is rooted in research and typically expressed and iterated on using wireframes. There are several different approaches to wireframing in the interaction design world but the focus of this blog post is on how to wireframe effectively in teams.
I am sure I’m not the first person to wish, on occasion, that they could design independently without interruption but unfortunately, that isn’t exactly a realistic scenario. We often find ourselves working in teams and this can actually be a really good thing when it comes to interaction design. Having more hands on a wireframing project means you can generate more ideas and help catch each other’s errors.
However, there are some challenges when designing in teams – issues with consistency and the risk of designing by committee are a couple that come to mind. Having said that, there are a few things you can do to ensure your team works effectively together to create the best possible wireframes.
Here are 5 tips on how to wireframe effectively in a team:
Involve all team members early in the design process.
All team members, regardless of role or responsibility, should be involved in the research behind the design. This means extending invitations to observe user interviews or to sit in on stakeholder workshops. At the very least, notes and findings from whatever research is conducted should be made transparent to the entire team. This is important because it provides interaction designers with an insight into real users, which helps take the ‘ego’ out of the design process.
Establish a clear vision and set of design goals.
This tip is good practice for any design effort but is especially important when working in teams. The vision and design goals should be established based on user research and key business requirements before beginning any wireframes. Design goals can be used as a tool to help evaluate and constructively critique each others work. This will help ensure consistency throughout the design.
Identify a lead architect/designer.
Be sure to identify an individual who will take responsibility for the design effort overall. The purpose of this role is not to prescribe details of the design but rather to facilitate and guide the design effort and to be a champion for consistency. Also, when nearing the end of the interaction design phase of a project, the lead architect should consolidate each team member’s contribution into a single set of wireframes.
Divide the work appropriately and plan for common elements.
Once the interaction design work is scoped out, you can begin planning how the work can be divided amongst team members. Think about chunking work into pieces that work well together, such as by workflow or section in the information architecture, whatever makes the most sense for your project.
Now that you have a plan on how to split the work, there is one more thing to think about before the team gets started on wireframing – spend some time upfront to decide on how to approach common elements such as the use of drop-downs, radio buttons etc. This time spent early on can save a lot of effort down the road.
Communicate and review work often
Last but certainly not least, communicate. Share and review your work with each other often. Come up with a regular schedule on when to connect with each other but don’t let that be the only time, ask each other questions and for opinions whenever there is a need.
Are there any tips and/or tricks that you apply when wireframing in teams? Please share in the comments below