Luke Wroblewski discusses the benefits and drawbacks of “mockups” (or we could assume “prototypes” as well) in his latest article on UX Matters, Live by the Mockup, Die by the Mockup. The article is a nice summary of ideas many of us have been discussing about the benefits and drawbacks of prototyping. But his conclusion is great, tying these ideas back to the real role of the UI designer:
When interface designers focus too much on mockups rather than product solutions, the design profession may suffer. This type of dilemma already exists for visual designers, who are routinely called upon just to âmake things pretty.â? As a result, every interface designer should focus on building a reputation as a problem solver and communicating that through the language of design and business. The presentation medium will change, the need to solve problems will not.
I often useÂ this quote from Elizabeth Boling at Indiana University because it’s the most consice phrase I’ve found to dispell the too common misconception:
“Designer” does not mean “artist” — though lots of people want to think it does. The job of a designer is not self-expression, it’s problem solving.Â
A powerful portfolio then for a UI designer/architect would include business problems with the designer’s solutions. I hope to have such a portfolio posted sometime soon.