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The Physical Philosophy of Visio: The Wireframe Disconnect

I'm confused. Here I am, happily creating wireframes for a site and suddenly I hit a wall: the Visio page ends before the form is meant to end. Surely this is something that others have had happen to them too. In fact, the people who created a prototype I've been looking at lately seem to have been wireframing in Power Point, judging from the layout of their web pages. They're short and squat like Power Point slides. But that's not the way the web works.

True, you can make a page in any format you like. But because scrolling sideways is much harder than scrolling lengthwise, traditionally web pages are long and narrow. Like this LJ page for instance. It's 25 entries long, regardless of how long that is in pixels. The page just expands downwards. It's one of the selling points of the web over paper -- that it just expands to whatever length you need it. That's also why blog entries can be any length that works best for what is being said. I write one-liners, I write hundred-liners. It's all the same on the web.

But not when I'm wireframing. Because the template I'm using forces me to limit the wireframe to the length of an A4. I could make it an A3 but that's still limiting a format that is inherently limitless. For web pages the only real length restriction is reader fatigue.

In the past I've solved the problem by creating an overview wireframe that blocks out the areas on the page. Each block has then got its own detailed wireframe on the subsequent pages. That works well for people who are used to that sort of hierarchical thinking but not so well for people with limited experience of web layout.

I have no better solution to offer right now so this is one of those slightly irritating entries that don't end with any proper closure.

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