Wireframing and Deadpool

Spasimir Dinev / Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Wireframing and Deadpool

You know wireframes. The white-gray-black series of doodles of your website, mobile app, rich app - that make the process proper, eliminate logical flaws and ultimately save project time.

Cool. Except, sometimes they don’t.

Wireframes, even the interactive ones, don’t make much sense to someone who hasn’t dealt with wireframes before, or doesn’t have the time, ability or desire to understand them. And often times, that someone is the project’s decision maker.

boring wireframe

The Curious Case of the Boring Wireframe.


What can we do?

Too often, wireframes are as dull and unengaging as the plot of Deadpool - one guy takes revenge and kills a truckload of people in the meantime. Nothing remarkable, we have seen that a million times.

But Deadpool is awesome. What makes it great are the punchlines flying around all the time. References to other Marvel movies (e.g. X-Men), unrelated flicks and series (e.g., Homeland), mockery and self-irony (e.g., Ryan Raynolds’ acting abilities) give life to the basic structure of the movie.

Here’s a crazy idea: How about we make the person looking at our wireframes enjoy themselves, so they actually spend more time on it?

deadpool wireframing

Deadpool nailing wireframing. Such headline. Much wow.

How about we include cultural references here and there. For example:

A) Turn to advertising. Let the professional copywriters do your job. Include a famous TV commercial slogan (try „Just do it“ or „Do the Dew“ for your good old action button);

B) Pay tribute to screenwriters and songwriters. Replace the „lorem ipsum“ paragraphs with the lyrics of a song or a quote from a movie character.

Spice up your wireframe with paragraph text from Breaking Bad

C) Movie posters have it all. Is the company you’re making a website for selling soap? Try the headline of Fight Club „Mischief, mayhem, soap“. It sticks.

A few words of advice,

should you go down this path of the dark side:

1. Make sure you use cultural references that your audience will understand (see what I did in the previous sentence?) and not be offended by.

2. Don’t confuse people. This is a wireframe/prototype that should make sense to the person looking at it - if it’s a button for „go“ (Start), don’t write „Gone in 60 Seconds“. It won’t make sense.

3. Don’t spend twice as much time on the wireframe/prototype just because you want to sound smart. It’s not about you. It’s about the wireframe and saving time for the project.

4. Don’t overdo it. You don’t need to make every line a punchline. Have one killer one and leave it at that.

5. Know your audience. If your client is a serious enterprise investing millions in the project, be careful. There are the people who love Deadpool, and there are those who just think it’s just not serious enough.

6. Use what’s given to you. This approach is used to replace lorem ipsum / dummy texts. If someone made the effort to give you the text that’s actually going to be in the final product - use it. Don’t change text for fun’s sake - you’re not a comedian.

So, will this approach make any dull wireframe awesome?

Heck no — it’s your job to make a great, easy-to understand, breeze-to-click-through wireframe that helps rather than confuses the audience. But pouring some heart and soul and a few funny lines can give that excellent wireframe of yours an extra edge. To infinity and beyond! Let me know if you’ve tried this approach, and whether it has done miracles for you, or you've lost that million-dollar contract because of too much fun you had while prototyping.