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Chapter 12. Wireframing > What Is a Wireframe?

What Is a Wireframe?

A wireframe is a page-by-page, plain-text representation of what a finished application will do. Devoid of techno-babble such as UML, flowcharts, or data models, the wireframe is extremely fast to develop, is readable by everyone, and answers the oft-overlooked question of what the application needs to do. As soon as a client begins identifying her requirements, it is quite tempting to open up a new Access file and begin the preliminary database schema. Let’s face it—we are all geeks, so writing code and thinking in application systems is what we do best.

However, if we are lulled into thinking about architectural subsystems before we fully understand what the finished system is supposed to do, then it is likely that we will subconsciously rearrange the requirements into something that is easily coded. This is dangerous because by giving the client what we think she wants, we almost never give her what she actually wants. We do not know anything about Janice’s requirements other than that she needs to sell bikes online. Is the shipping coming directly from the manufacturer? Is this for consumers and resellers? We just do not know yet.


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