The business: hey we need you to draw some wireframes for this engagement

Me: Do we have a scope for the problem? How are the user's existing tools failing them? Are we resourced to answer these questions?

The business: nah it's ok they can be low fidelity wireframes
Design artifacts are not the deliverable. They just document the design decisions, and design decisions must be rooted in user research.

If you can't draw a direct line from the artifact to how the decisions it documents will be informed, you won't produce anything of value.
Before someone sets pencil to paper, it's really easy to think you have something while remaining pleasantly vague. Only when you need to render the artifact do you realize that there's no there there. It's up to the designer to say "hang on, I can't do anything with this."
Have these questions answered, or insist on the time and resources to answer them yourself: Who is the user? What is their goal? What blocks them today, and what is the consequence? What capability do they need to overcome that pain?

And: what are we NOT solving?
The business loves to come up with ideas for "a platform" that has dozens of vaguely defined users, workflows, and features. It is impossible to design for this kind of scoping. Set expectations up front: we need time to narrow down to the most important end-to-end slice first.
Most stakeholders don't know anything about design. They think that they can shove you in the vague direction of a problem and get ~*~magic~*~ back. But good design takes a lot of stakeholder time: sitting in on user calls, prioritizing, tightening the feedback loop.
A workshop effectively has a feedback loop of zero. You can even get the "I'll know it when I see it" people to be helpful. But you need to set the expectations for this kind of involvement way in advance - and define the mechanisms that will inject user insights into this space.
The first requirement for user insights is obviously user research. Proxies won't cut it. But you can't just go do it all alone and come back as a genius, because the stakeholders won't believe anything that doesn't confirm their own biases unless they hear it first-hand.
Similar to how the outputs of design are memetic and not visual, the outputs of research are *improved mental models* and not a report uploaded to the Confluence wiki. If stakeholders with outdated mental models don't recognize why your design is good, it won't get executed.
The other part of this puzzle is that when people say "low fidelity wireframes" they are usually thinking about Lorem Ipsum, which means the wireframes are doomed to be completely irrelevant to the solution. The lo-fi stage is when you need to get your content ducks in a row.
The main value of the lo-fi stage is defining the content and the timing of when the user needs to see it for it to be valuable. It's like acting out a script with stand-ins for the props and actors to see if the script makes sense. You can't do all that ahead of the script!
Stakeholders will love the opportunity to review, but resist being involved in the actual work. Getting them to feel the pain of their vague requirements is the only way to kill off the blind hand-off and develop a healthier collaboration process.

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with Pavel #StopAsianHate

Pavel #StopAsianHate Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @PavelASamsonov

5 Apr
When you're going over the research notes and then the conceptual model clicks into place
Explaining to the client that the conceptual model actually makes sense from the user's point of view
Wait hang on, it wasn't a breakthrough, I just re-invented the to do list app.
Read 5 tweets
5 Apr
Product ownership is an interesting challenge - you want to limit WIP and avoid context switching, but you can't just laser focus on building and neglect caretaking.
This is why trying to develop many new things in parallel doesn't work, and why single threaded leadership is so effective. Without consciously attending to all the dimensions of the product, you'll build an unstable tower that is constantly collapsing.
This model also shows why focusing on outcomes is more important than outputs. The second approach looks tempting from a feature factory perspective, but if you have visibility into outcomes, the work in the first approach becomes just as meaningful.
Read 5 tweets
10 Feb

is an anagram of


is an anagram of


is an anagram of

Read 15 tweets
28 Jan
One of the most important Enterprise design tools you can learn is PowerPoint
This is not (just) my usual spiel about most visual tools being merely documentation - if you don't know how to make your decks look good, it'll be rough to get your ideas across.

PowerPoint can do almost everything InDesign can do. Take advantage of it.
Being a great speaker with pretty, TED-style full bleed image slides won't help you when an exec asks you to email them your deck.

Being able to comp beautiful presentation layouts in Photoshop or Figma won't help you when an exec asks you to email them your deck.
Read 7 tweets
28 Jan
One (perhaps the only?) positive development on the Web since the glory days is that the "normal" size of text on the average website has gone up from minuscule to legible or even a little bigger than it needs to be.
That's not to say there weren't websites with big text in 2004, or websites with small text today. But our visual language for "this is what a website looks like" has evolved. What it means for a website to look "designed" vs "normal" (for lack of better terms) has changed.
Even pages intentionally aiming for an "undesigned" or brutalist feel tack towards larger, rather than smaller, text.…
Read 6 tweets
21 Dec 20
Smaller teams move quicker, but having the correct team composition and mandate is much more important than size. Unless your team has decision authority, you will fall behind again while getting stakeholders caught up to your progress and insights.
Making polished presentation: 3 hours
Presenting findings to execs: 1 hour
Answering follow-up questions: 1 hour
Arguing with the legacy power centers: 8 hours


Having an exec sit in on a user interview: 45 min
Listening to them having their mind blown in the debrief: 15 min
When your audience doesn't have the same context you do, it's much harder to explain what's going on and why the problem matters or the solution is correct. Narrowing that gap as much as possible will tighten your feedback loops more than anything else can
Read 6 tweets

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!