roadblocks

The wireframe process has wrapped, and the team has gone through about 6 iterations taking in and editing all the small tweaks needed to move on to the visuals. The client has an existing Android application, so along the way, I’ve been taking cues from this version, all while sticking to the native constructs of the Windows 10 platform.

Throughout this phase of the project, I’ve come away with being reminded of how to work through roadblocks. For example, while I’m proficient in my skill set, I can at times get very absorbed in my work and forget about the client’s needs. As I’ve been in this field for a while now and have encountered this in the past, I’ve developed some ways of working through this issue. Some methods used for counteracting these barriers and to get you back on track are:

  • • First and foremost, know that it’s okay to take a step back, and it is highly recommended if you’re in this position. When you take a break and remove your focus from the project or problem you’re solving, be it an hour, a day or even a week, you’re allowing your conscious mind to digest the project all while it’s marinating subconsciously in the back of your mind. When you return, you’re coming back with fresh eyes and are better able to clearly think through whatever those barriers may have been. And, in turn, you become more productive and are able to give your client better work.
  • • Another way to get through roadblocks is to change the medium you’re using to produce the work. For example, if you’re working on wireframes on the computer, grab a pen and paper and do some quick sketches. You can time-box yourself or even commit to sketching out a specific number of variations. This is a great technique for allowing you to think of new solutions and this method also goes very nicely with my final recommendation, which is to collaborate with other team members. You can take those quick sketches and easily bounce ideas off of others. I’ve written about this in a previous post and I cannot stress enough the importance of collaboration. Getting the perspective from other people is a surefire way to get you and your team thinking in new ways and you are bound to think of ideas you may not have originally thought of on your own.
  • • Something else I’m reminded of is that it’s always best to show the client multiple options and let them choose the direction. While some designers can get very attached and take criticism personally, remember that it never is personal. As the designer, you can’t forget that the project isn’t about you and what you want; it’s about the needs and wants of your client, because like they say, “s/he’s the boss!” All you can do is show the client the alternatives. Give them your recommendations and input on industry best practices and standards and let them come to realize on their own which option is best for them and their needs. By showing multiple options that include variations of what you believe is the best approach (along with what your client believes is best), while pointing out the pros and cons of each, you’re educating them in a visually comparative way. Using this approach, you’re demonstrating that the alternatives provided may actually yield a better result, all while letting them come to this realization on their own.

Now that the wireframes are complete, visual design will begin, as the wireframes are just to get an idea of placement of objects and hierarchy. For those who are unfamiliar with the process, a wireframe is comparative to a blueprint for a house and visual design is relative to interior design. Of those screens, I’ve made sure to include ones where there are variations and others that are more similar that will follow the ones more closely associated to them.

With the Windows 10 apps being new, there has also been a learning curve to grasp all the design guidelines (e.g. 4 pixel rule) that give Windows 10 its look and feel and work in that environment. More to come as our visual design becomes a reality.