Jeffery Zeldman wrote earlier this year in his essay about Web 3.0 that “Wireframing AJAX is a bitch.” And while I can’t deny the statement, I do think there are steps we can take to alleviate the pain. The problem is static XHTML/CSS wireframes are woefully inefficient at the task of communicating and documenting the features available to the new crop of Ajax web sites. Because we’ve been working on a rather intense Ajax project for the last few months, we’ve been developing and refining a number of techniques and guidelines to help our team design for Ajax by moving beyond the traditional forms of functional specs and wireframes to something a bit more appropriate for the dynamic medium—rapid prototyping.
Last week we introduced the concept of prototyping as a solution to the problem of representing Ajax at the early stages of designing an interface. We talked about some general strategies and attitudes we should take when starting a project (like not being a hero and establishing good relationships with our programmers) and reviewed some fundamental XHTML and CSS skills we should have in our arsenal before beginning the prototyping process.