« What designing a user interface shares with creating a puzzle | Main | Custom context menus always forget to support right-clicking *on* the context menu »

January 10, 2011



Photoshop isn't going to happen, but Balsamiq or Keynote mockup speed for a production quality site is doable for the web with the current technology. The caveat is that you're trading flexibility in both design and implementation for speed.

If you have a relatively stable set of UI conventions/patterns and your engineering department has been investing in tools, you CAN achieve this sort of speed. Check the Lunascript video for a demo. Unfortunately, I have yet to work for a design-oriented company willing to invest heavily enough to get implementation down to hours, but it is doable. The design limitations will never go away, but how loose they are entirely depends on how clever your developers are. I've personally spent a decade working on this problem and it's only in the past year that I've seen the light at the end of the tunnel.


> Let’s assume you had the UI componentry to quickly assemble a UI whose very first representation already looked drop-dead gorgeous.

Seems like a big assumption! This would be do-able when working on perhaps an existing product. That said, I usually find even with wireframe tools that there's not enough flexibility in producing the visual elements I want, so I can't imagine having a library of UI components that would meet all the needs.

I rarely use wireframes and instead build prototypes with HTML&CSS (using PHP & YAML to insert data pieces) as I have a very strong front-end background. This allows me to drop in past pieces from prior features (same company's product) with some ease but rarely can I get away with dropping in the component without some customization.

The comments to this entry are closed.