UI | Specifications
  June, 2014

Where have those red line specifications gone?

Hari Nallan

Looking back at 12 years of my career now, I keep wondering where did those redlines vanish? Over the past 12 years (and more so last 8 years), redlines seem to have vanished from the career of UX professionals.

Back then, we would use visio for screen prototyping and paper for off-screen prototyping. As designers, we had no control over front end (remember those sans HTML days?). We created desktop applications that ran into several hundreds of screens in few weeks and happily passed them over to developers through the quintessential “red lines”.

Come 2006, companies migrated from desktop to web in (almost) a frenzy and HTML became essential part of designers’ life. Front end developers we yet not mature enough to translate design into code and hence, we would still use some redlines and some of us had our hands dirty with dreamweaver, prototyping HTML tables ourselves. As HTML CSS became more pervaded and complicated, front end developers grew in numbers and maturity and it became their responsibility to own the front end delivery.

As we moved to 2008 and 2010, we hardly saw desktop applications coming our way and CSS became gold standard (in web, mobile and cross platform) in our lives. CSS has pretty much replaced the need for redlines and it is essential today, for a UX designer to think CSS. Few of us may be coding ourselves to tryout CSS implications on our intent.

So, there you go! Redlines got eaten by CSS (almost like a pacman)

Hari Nallan

Hari Nallan

Founder and CEO of Think Design, a User Experience strategist, Designer, Speaker and Educator. Think Design is a Leading Design consultancy with offices in Denver, New Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bengaluru; and collaborates with visionary organisations to identify, build and materialise innovative products and services.

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