The “joy” of redlining…

UI/UX isn’t all swiping and gradients

Sure you may think this job is conjuring up awesome apps and interfaces like Minority Report, but there’s a whole lot of roll-up-the-sleeves and get dirty pixel pushing and math under the hood. My honest confession is this is where my interest in the project starts to wane, and I need to push myself to finish up these more mundane tasks … but if I don’t, I have nobody to complain about when my design doesn’t function like I see in my mind… and my mind would be a scary place for a developer to live!

So after the fun sketching, and the fun Photoshopping, and the hours of not-so-fun meetings, the spec diagrams are just as necessary in the design process – including Redlines.

A working redline...

When I first heard the the term Redlining, it was as a job requirement for a Microsoft design position I was interested in. I had no idea what that meant, but throwing around industry-terms without explanation is nothing new. After googling what a “redline” was, I realized I’d been doing my own version of these technical diagrams for years when handing my web designs to developers out of state. I just didn’t know there was an “official” name for it.

Basically, a redline is a diagram showing margins, image dimensions, font sizes and any other information that a developer would need to accurately build your layout. If you’re one of the rare right-brain meets left-brain cyborgs who can design and develop, my hats off to you – and you probably don’t need this step in the process, or at least, not as detailed… but if you’re handing off your design work for someone else to develop, don’t skip this step!

If you do, you’ll have nobody to blame but yourself.


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