I love wireframing. It's like playing with LEGOs -- you can build anything, hate it, tear it down, and then start all over again at a moment's notice. The idea's simple enough -- create the barebones design for your web site, focusing on the user interface without getting bogged down in graphics, colors and arguments over whether the hyperlinks should be underlined or not.
Attached as PDFs to this post are my initial tier one and tier three "evolutionary" wireframes for the Nuketown redesign. These aren't a radical change from what we have now, but they accomplish a number of my design goals, including integrating microcontent into the home page, creating some new advertising options the (the skyscraper ad on the home page, the box add on the tier 3 page), a place to show case projects/features, and columns for exposing content like top rated stories and comments. It also gets rid of the login forms in favor of a login link in the primary nav (the sidebar login is something I hate in the current design) and cleans up the layout.
It's been pretty quiet around Nuketown for the last few weeks, but it's not because I haven't been working. It's just that I have been working, but haven't had much I could talk about yet. The big thing I've been working on is a scope document for Nuketown's redesign.
The idea behind the scope document is to nail down exactly what it is I'm doing as part of the redesign. It's not meant to be a soap-to-nuts document -- I have to sleep some time -- but I wanted to summarize my objectives, create some solid tasks to accomplish them, and then identify goals to see whether or not my plan worked.
It was worth the time it took to write it up -- as I was working on the IA and analytics, I realized that I'd gone to far in thinking about how I would do what I wanted, with out identifying what it was I wanted to do. It's an easy trap to fall into when you're working on a hobby project like this, but it ends up costing you dearly when you get halfway through the project and realize it's a muddled mess. I don't have a lot of free time -- and I seem to have less and less of it as life goes on -- so I can't afford to make those kinds of mistakes.