UX Deliverables: wireframes

VCA Wireframe for Travel Sheet

Wireframes are a good step between touch sketches and final design. There are times that sketches on a napkin just aren’t polished or sophisticated enough to communicate the design. And there are times you are just not ready to mock pages up in Photoshop or Sketch because the design still needs some tweaking. That is why wireframes are a great intermediate step between sketch in higher fidelity mockups or diving straight in to code.

There are several benefits or wireframing your designs:

  • They are easy to produce. You can be created quickly once you get the hang of it. You are skilled in the software to produce wireframes, and there are many, then and experience UX designer can usually create them with great ease.
  • Wireframes allow for design exploration and easy iteration. You can change and update designing without being too invested in the design.
  • They allow for focusing on what’s important. Instead of focusing on fonts and colors, the user can function on the layout and placement of items on the page.
  • Gives an idea of the design without being fully invested. This makes adjustments and changes low cost and without be too committed to the code or design.
  • Clients understand the designs are not fully baked. They see that the designs are rough. There’s no color or images. There might even be squiggly lines or other clues that it is in a rough state. But being in this preliminary state the user or stakeholder is more comfortable making suggestions or providing feedback for changes.
  • Wireframes help developers understand relationships. Without requiring the developers to create things in code, a wireframe can help them easily understand the page, the design, and how things relate to each other. In that way, wireframes are a great communication tool.

I understand there are cons for wireframes. And not everyone is onboard with the concept of wireframes. But I wanted to highlight some of the benefits of working wireframes in to your work flow.

UX Deliverables: card sort

Jennifer Blatz UX design is using a card sort to organize the taxonomy of a virtual travel sheet.
Card sorting can be used for more things than just a website’s navigation. This card sort was done with Post-it notes in person with the user.

Cards sorts can make many forms. They can be low tech with index cards or Post-it notes. Or they can be a higher fidelity done on a website or with other card sorting software on the computer.

Jennifer Blatz UX design card sort of taxonomy and information architecture.
An online card sort can be performed with remote users.


If you have access to users in person, you can use a physical card sort. With this, you can use index cards or Post-it notes to have the user organize the items written on the card in to more general categories. If you do not have the opportunity to to meet the user in person, it’s ok to use a remote card sorting service or software (second image above) to do a card sort.

The major things that a card sort is used to accomplish is:

  • It is cheap and easy to do. Yes it takes a bit of time to create one card for each topic and make sure that all assets are covered. But once that is done, all you need to do is hand the cards to the user and have them organize them. Take a picture of the results with your phone or a digital camera and save for analysis.
  • It is user centric. It truly is from the viewpoint of the user since the user is the one organizing the cards in the best way they see fit.
  • It can be done in person or remotely. As shown in the images above, card sorting can be performed in a variety of ways.
  • It is a valuable and reputable source for gathering information. Car sorting and taxonomy have been used in a variety of ways for years. And if done correctly, it really works!
  • It can also help create labels and navigation titles. If you leave the card sorting open (without providing categories for the user to organize the cards) you can have the user not only group like items, but give them intuitive titles as well.
  • It provides insight in to the user’s thoughts. If you are able to talk with the user as they organize the cards, you get great insight as to WHY they are organizing the cards in certain ways. This helps you get sone context as the why and how the user is grouping like items.

Don’t be afraid to perform your own cart sorting exercise to help organization for your website or app. Feel free to leave comments and share your experience with your own card sort.


Mid-year: revisiting my personal goals

2016 UX design resolutions for Jennifer Blatz

I am revisiting the goals I set for myself in early 2016. I need to see if I have accomplish any or many of what I set out to do and if I need to reassess my goals based on my new career path. My notes are included in purple after the original list item.

Learn programs

  • Axure Re-learned in Spring but need to practice skills to keep them fresh
  • Sketch No I have not learned this other than watching online tutorials. Not pertinent to my current job, but still would be good to learn.

Improve coding skills

  • Learn javascript, at least the basics No I did not do this. Removing from the list for now to focus efforts on learning more about research methods and best practices.
  • Refresh my knowledge about CSS and HTML No I have not refreshed my knowledge on this. Not pertinent to my current job, but still would be good to learn.

Read books

  • “Information Architecture” aka the Polar Bear book Yes! Accomplished
  • “Design of Everyday Things” No, still want to.
  • “Checklist Manifesto” No, still want to.
  • “How to Get People to do Stuff” In the process of reading
  • I am adding these two books to my list, which I am in the process of reading and are more related to my new job: “Observing the User Experience” and “Research Methods.”
  • Also adding “UX Strategy” since I got it as a going-away gift. Thank you Kristin Kazamaki for the very thoughtful gift. 

Keep learning

  • Start another “100 Days of Learning” journal, but expand it for the entire year. I have partially done one. It’s not as developed as last year. I would prefer to review last years, and this year’s and focus on writing notes as I see some important content.
  • Review the “Learning Stuff” journal from last year I still need to do this. 

Write blog posts

  • I am shooting to post 30 blog posts in 2016 Well I have 23 right now so I am in a good place to meet that goal.

Join a side project

  • I would love to join another project. If you know of any short term projects that need a UX designer, please let me know. I am success at this as I was a UX consultant for Wingspan Arts in NYC. It still needs to go through the redesign, but I helped them organize content and surveyed users and stakeholders to build a better redesign plan. 

Build out portfolio

  • Improve the content of my portfolio by introducing new clips Did this and also acquired a Dribble account to also showcase my designs.
  • Present my acquired knowledge illustrating my software proficiency I have an opportunity to teach an online course in the pipeline, and if it works out, this would help me to meet this goal.  Fingers crossed!