UX Diagrams

A UX (for user experience, aka user interface) diagram visually presents what the user sees on the screen of a device running the program in a simplified form. These are also sometimes called wireframes (due to the diagram typically only showing text and outlines of controls) or bluelines (a term borrowed from architecture, where plans are drawn in blue pencil before begin printed in black and white). Typically, each screen of the user interface is drawn as a UX diagram, along with a description of the purpose of the controls on the page.

In addition to displaying individual screens in a UX, arrows can be added connecting screens to represent how the program’s state advances based on user interaction. The actions the user takes are typically used as a label for these arrows. Increasingly, UX modeling applications are employed to provide an interactive ‘click-through’ experience of the app, though most of these tools will also print a traditional diagram form.

UX diagrams provide several benefits. While most customers won’t understand other aspects of the design document, a UX diagram represents the part of the program they will be interacting with. Accordingly, this is the portion of the design they will be able to give the most feedback for - and that feedback may influence other aspects of the design. Second, to design a good UX, a developer must understand the customers’ needs and way of thinking about a problem – essentially, they must be familiar with the customers’ processes and discipline. With a good UX diagram, however, this understanding is not vital. As long as the UX designer understood the customers’ needs and captured it in the UX diagram, the user interface it specifies will make sense to the customer. The programmer need only implement it.