Guide & Model

There are several design attributes of a prototype model :

  • It’s usually Functional
  • It’s often Skeletal

The Prototype “makes it Real”

Functional: Postalworks

Software developer PostalWorks had put together a nice set of software features and tools that would manage an email direct marketing campaign. In late 1999 they had a potential corporate buyer for their product, so they contracted with The Communication Studio to pull it all together into an interactive, easy-to-use, saleable package.

Soon after I finished the design, PostalWorks successfully sold their email Direct Marketing Campaign Manager as the flagship product to TMP Worldwide, which is now known as

Challenges & Solutions

Our task was to identify the functional requirements and create a fully-featured interactive design model so that a graphic design team could create HTML pages for the front end of their product.

Within 3 months I gave them a working prototype wireframe modeled in Visual Basic and a completely seamless, thoroughly documented, richly modeled.

PostalWorks Campaign Manager

Campaign Manager

  • Process Manage campaign environment
  • Set up a new campaign.
  • Handle client information
  • Govern permissioning,
  • Maintain a complete library of all campaign collateral materials.

PostalWorks Message Composer

Message Composer

  • Full range of direct marketing message creation and editing tools
  • Design stylesheet w/ wysiwig preview
  • dynamic links & attachment
  • notification triggers.


  • Define timing agenda
  • Schedule when direct marketing messages are to be sent
  • Segment and target the customer groups.
  • Capture and display customer info

PostalWorks Automation


  • Define the rulestriggers and conditions for automating the email campaign.
  • Choreograph efficiency

Deliverables, Tasks, Techniques

1999 was still fairly early days for html.  So I used Visual Basic as the platform for modeling  functionality.


Skeletal: Lead-Free Kids

Merkley +Partners (also our agency client in 2008) asked us to guide their redesign this public-facing self-service health site, a partnership between the EPA and the Ad Council. We simplified the UI, spoke to the target audience (Moms), gave it a social networking edge, and focused on immediate “calls to action”.

The Value Proposition

  • Provide targeted UX services at the level requested by the client (quickly-rendered “skeletal” wireframes)
  • Collaborate closely with agency team to identify audience, CTA’s, workflow
  • Recommend and model value-added features & insights

Corporate Template



The legacy leadfreekids site was meant to offer health and safety-oriented self-service. But it was an uninspiring hodgepodge that failed to reach – or motivate – its target audience.

  • Reorganize collateral with an eye towards practical usage
  • Focus on the Target Audience – and their needs
  • Invigorate the experience with one-click Calls to Action
  • Create a Living Community of Interest
  • Integrate Professional Solutions Partners into the mix
  • Reach across cultural, linguistic and accessibility barriers
Annotated Template


Merkley didn’t ask us to brand the site – They already have excellent folks in-house to do that.

We provided information architecture and content strategy in a clickable demosite that provided a structural framework (See first image).

They restructured the site on the basis of our “raw” wireframes guidelines and “skinned” it attractively (See second image).


  • compliance with international Accessibility Standards
  • implement Social Networking
  • feature immediate Calls to Action

Deliverables, Tasks, Techniques


“Happy birthday! Check out to see your handiwork. Section 508 compliance notwithstanding, it’s really all you. Spanish translation still in progress, but if you click that link you can see the improvement. Cheers!”

Mathilde Benington, GM, Media/Interactive at Merkley + Partners


Guide: Wireframes

PlayPen: Clickable Demosites




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