Friday, January 30, 2009

Due next class (Tuesday) -- wireframe and flowchart

By next class, have:

1. A website wireframe prepared for one of the sites you picked that is in the same "genre" of the site you'd like to make, their first and second level pages. A wireframe example (click to enlarge):

2. Make a website flowchart as well (you can do a google image search for "website wrireframe" and "website flowchart" to see examples).

 A flowchart example (click to enlarge):

Be ready to talk about the sites you analyzed (via drawing up the wireframe and flowchart) with your fellow classmates next class. Draw up a list: what were the elements you liked about the site? What are the elements you disliked about the site? What elements would you like to incorporate into your own site?

As I said in class, I usually use illustrator for doing up wireframes and flowcharts -- if you have any familiarity with Illustrator, it's a good tool for dealing with text, lines, and boxes. There's a tutorial here that has some good time on wireframing in Illustrator.

Photoshop would be fine too -- though if you're unfamiliar with both Photoshop and Illustrator, I'd recommend just drawing these out by hand. Just make sure the names for all the navigation and content are legible. It might help to use graph paper.

As a recap (and for those who weren't in class): the wireframe is to give an idea of all the pieces of content you need on a particular page. There might be some layout information in it, but it's far more about content than design. And since most sites have homepages that function differently than their interior pages, it's necessary two have at least two wireframes (for first and second tier page functionality) to give an idea of what's going on.

A flowchart, on the other hand, doesn't give an idea of everything that's on a page, but rather gives an idea of how the site as a whole is organized -- how the menu breaks the site into various sections, that may or may not have subsections. You don't need to draw out every single page, but you do need to draw out each section or subsection of your site.

The reasoning behind this exercise is to get you to dig deeply into the site architecture of a site that is trying to solve the same sorts of problems you'll want to solve for your own website. It will hopefully give you some ideas on how to organize your own site (or how not to organize it, as the case may be).


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