12

I was recently asked to provide this by a potential employer and wasn't sure what it meant. Google has also shown little help.

I am assuming it means a collection of wireframes. However, are these presented in a flow chart or individually? Are these interactive? If anyone could enlighten me on this piece of industry jargon, that would be greatly beneficial. Thank you!

  • It's off topic but I'm curious if you came to the conclusion you didn't know this afterwards or that you did pretend you knew. And was this a job interview? Because there's nothing wrong when you don't know a certain term. Being assertive by asking about it normally makes a better impression than pretending to know what is meant. – jazZRo Apr 19 '16 at 15:07
  • @jazZRo It was communicated via email. No interview has been set up yet, they were just looking for some supplemental information. This "deck", I am assuming will be the make-or-break to get an interview with them. I did reply back to the email asking for clarification, however, their response didn't really clarify but instead expanded on the question. – underriterd Apr 20 '16 at 0:20
15

"Wireframe deck" is not an industry wide term that refers to a specific presentation format. Your best bet would be to seek a definition from the employer, possibly giving them a few examples so as to illustrate that you've thought the problem through and are looking for clarification.

Over on EnglishLanguage.SE a similar question was asked: What is a Deck, Sales Deck or Sales Pitch Deck?

A "deck" as it pertains to your examples refers to a set of slides, or more specifically, a Microsoft Powerpoint presentation. Presentations from other similar software could also be a deck, but PowerPoint is the most popular.

Calling something a "Powerpoint deck" is the last thing I can think of using the slang "deck" in a business environment; though I use "Powerpoint presentation" or just "a Powerpoint" a lot more often now.

So, a "deck" is jargon referring to a collection of something - for example, a collection a slides. It is highly likely that the employer is using the same jargon here to refer to a collection of wireframes. How you choose to ultimately present that information (individually, interactively, or other) is up to you and can certainly be done in a way that helps to illustrate your design & communication skills.

  • 1
    This. I wasn't too familiar with the term "deck" when they were tossing it around at my workplace. But it's basically a slide presentation deck. So for wireframes, I would imagine it's an organized presentation of your wireframes that can be re/viewed by clients/stakeholders. – Perry Apr 18 '16 at 23:10
  • 1
    It feels like a very 'corporate/consulting' or 'US' term, as I seldom hear it used in any other context. – Michael Lai Apr 19 '16 at 5:27
  • Yes, ditto what Michael said. The eye-rolling term is used all the time in corporate America. :) – DA01 Apr 19 '16 at 6:24
  • The "Deck" part refers to the collection of "Cards" rather than "Slides" to be relevant not just to digital media but also to more 'analog' formats such as prompt cards or flip-chart pages - It stumped me when I first heard it to but it appears to be getting more popular. – Andrew Martin Apr 19 '16 at 9:18
  • 1
    Deck has been a widely used term in the US executive world for at least two decades. As a consultant, if you aren't familiar with the term here, you will get the eye rolls. – plainclothes Apr 19 '16 at 16:51
2

Speak their language

"Wireframe deck": Presentation version of the wireframes you're building for development, tailored to an executive audience who wants to know x about the project.

This is a very common term among execs and other "business types" who are familiar with the concept of designing an app or site (but aren't designers or developers). It is driven by the normal cross-departmental meeting requirement of informing your partners with a short slide deck.

Slide-based presentation tools are this audience's bread and butter (for better or worse). The fear of getting caught trouble-shooting tech issues with a new format (even a web-based tool) is enough to keep the status quo.

A different kind of story

The focus of the wireframe story needs to change compared to a typical engineering/development presentation. It's about showcasing business value before system flow or function. Your presenter is going to want to tell a concise story about how the user comes into the system and quickly get to the ROI drivers.

Marcin Treader (CEO of UX Pin) says this about simple wireframes:

The design should solve certain problems for a certain group of people. Wireframes and prototypes do not present the problem that needs to be solved and do not describe a targeted group of users.

^ Applied to this context, the normal wireframe format you might deliver to a product manager or software architect will fall flat in an executive setting.

Ideally, there's a lot of material that lead to the wireframe (eg personas, user journeys, analytics, market research, etc). Adding those supporting pieces will go a long way toward explaining the value behind the wires. Keep it short, but make the thinking very clear.

This classic graphic from JJG speaks to the bigger picture that you want execs to understand.

Jesse James Garrett's seminal visualization of the experience design process

Set up the deck

This part is more about "decks" provided to clients ...

PowerPoint is far and away the application of choice. It's worth asking if they have a standard deck template. Common elements are headings, a small logo, and a non-disclosure statement. The expectations around template usage changes from one org to the next.

I prefer to set the deck up in Google Slides so it can be privately accessed from any device (and I don't have to use PP). My deliverables are the Slides link and exports in PPT and PDF format. That covers my bases and keeps the client feeling safe. I've never had a problem with this approach; in fact, on various occasions, each of those backup formats (Slides and PDF) have gotten the client out of a jam.

  • Curious what the down vote is about. Don't be shy, speak up if something seems off. – plainclothes Apr 19 '16 at 18:01
  • 3
    I'd be keen to hear what the disagreement is with this answer too. Lots of good pointers that both hit the question and go beyond it. +1 – Evil Closet Monkey Apr 19 '16 at 18:35
  • Great answer, thank you! I do have a question regarding the setup. I apologize if this question is too open-ended. You mention common elements. Are site map labels usually included with the wireframe deck? To expand, a wireframe slide titled "Activity 1.4.1" would point to a site map bubble displaying the same label. I ask because I have yet to see what a professional wireframe deck looks like. Are there any other elements that would be beneficial to a hiring manager, lead product designer, etc.? – underriterd Apr 20 '16 at 0:57
  • @underriterd there's not a lot of standardization on this topic. The key is to tell the story you're solving for and make that as clear as necessary without creating a 90 page presentation. – plainclothes Apr 20 '16 at 1:23
1

As pointed out previously, a deck is simply a collection of slide presented in some particular order (even if it is just mostly random).

If he is asking for wireframes and using the term correctly as far as 'industry standards' are concerned, then they won't be interactive in anyway (unless you introduce the interaction through the magic of PowerPoint). Otherwise the person might have used the term prototype instead of wireframes or mockups (which can be interactive sometimes).

Depending on the type of software that you use to produce the wireframes or used by the company, these can be simply created in PowerPoint (I wouldn't recommend it due to version and source control issues), exported from your tool or application of choice onto a presentation platform (like PowerPoint or SlideShare), or on a series of web pages.

1

"deck" is usually business jargon for "powerpoint presentation". Essentially a "deck of slides".

In my experience, when someone asks for a "deck of..." it usually means "I gotta show my bosses something pretty in a meeting."

1

I won't reiterate what the clarification of the deck means as other members have done that for you. But I also recently had to present a "deck" to a potential employer and I ended up creating a 4 page PDF (PowerPoint would also be fine) of the processes I used to get from point A to point B.

I started with a defined workflow, then onto low-fidelity wireframes resulting into the actual high visual designs. This went down very well with the hiring managers as you give them a bit more information behind a project, how you operate and the software you use. I have since used this "deck" with other potentials and it goes down really well. I find a lot of hiring managers don't want to just see screenshots, they want to see a story.

Just another avenue you can take with creating your deck :)

Good luck!

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.