by anthony on 09/24/10 at 3:44 pm
Have you ever delivered your wireframes to a client only to have them tell you everything they dislike and want you to change? This happens when clients judge your design before they understand it. It is your responsibility to communicate the rationale for your design decisions on your wireframes.
Annotations are important for giving clients clear and concise explanations to your design decisions. If you don’t annotate your wireframes, your clients have the power to assert their biased judgement on your design. Unless they understand UX design, it’s hard for clients to see the value of your design decisions. You have to annotate your wireframes and offer explanations why your design is effective. This gives them insight to your thinking process and allows them to think about the user. Here are a few tips for creating effective annotations.
1. Keep them short and to the point
This is where your writing skills come in handy. Giant blocks of text aren’t attractive to read. Keep your explanations short and to the point. You could end up with a lot of annotations, which is why keeping them short will make it an easier read for clients. Any detailed elaboration could be followed up with a meeting if needed.
2. Focus on user benefits
Every design decision you make should benefit the user. This means your annotations should focus on explaining how each design element helps the client’s users. Clients should feel how important the user experience is through you.
3. Use numerical circles and order them
Enumerate your annotations in circles and place them in order from left-to-right going down the page. This makes it easier to read and will prevent clients from having to jump around the page to read each annotation.
4. Keep explanations in a column on the right
Keep your annotation explanations on the right next to the wireframe. This way clients can scan for a annotation circles on the left and move their eyes to the right to read the explanation.
Annotating your wireframes adds an extra step after you finish designing, but it is well worth it. If you truly believe in your design you should go through great lengths to help your clients understand it. It’s hard for clients to look at a wireframe and notice every grain of detail you have put into it. Annotations allow your clients to see the value of your design without passing judgement.