Clickframes: Bridging the Designer-Developer Chasm

Session Title

Clickframes: Bridging the Designer-Developer Chasm


Jonathan Abbett, William Crawford,

Session Type: Presentation

There are major hurdles to incorporating user-centered design into the software development process: requirements that are out of sync with design materials, prototypes that hastily get turned into production software, and the chasm that exists between interaction designers and developers. How do you make the transition from design to code while keeping managers, clients, and testers engaged and informed?

In this session, we’ll demonstrate Clickframes, a simple XML-based framework for creating detailed specifications of web apps that can be leveraged to create design materials, instant prototypes, traceable requirements, enterprise-caliber Java code, and automated Selenium tests. We’ll show how Clickframes allowed our small group to research, design, implement, test, and launch a major new professional networking and groupware application for young researchers at Harvard Medical School — from start to finish in eight months.

This session will include a series of live demonstrations, going from rough site map to fully-functional web application (with form validation, AJAX, and user authentication out of the box) in a matter of minutes. We will share how we have incorporated this technique into our own design and agile development processes to our team’s, our clients’, and our users’ delight.


Jonathan Abbett leads user-experience design at Beacon16, a new design and development shop spun off from the Informatics Solutions Group at Children’s Hospital Boston. He has been with Children’s Hospital since 2005, primarily designing and developing the Indivo personally-controlled health record platform. He was previously a software engineer at Silverlink Communications of Burlington, MA developing phone- and web-based interfaces for interactive health messaging applications, and shares a patent for the efficient delivery of automated dialogs in a colocated voice hosting environment. In all, Jonathan has over ten years of experience designing and developing web applications and application platforms of several flavors in corporate, academic, and freelance settings.

William Crawford, MBA, is CEO of Beacon16, and formerly the Director
of the Informatics Solutions Group at Children’s Hospital Boston. He
was previously Chief Technology Officer at Invantage, Inc. and a
member of the technology policy staff atthe US Centers for Medicare
and Medicaid. He is the co-author of three books on enterprise
software development, all from O’Reilly & Associates.


  1. Charles Cousin
    Posted September 8, 2009 at 8:16 pm

    Sounds like an intriguing application, because I’m really facing the problem you describe in my work as and IT manager. Looking forward to the presentation.

  2. Posted September 17, 2009 at 9:34 am

    Thanks, Charles! If you’d like to learn more, check the Clickframes website: We’ve just released an online tool called CLIPr that makes it even easier to try Clickframes — no software downloads required.

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  1. By Vote for Clickframes! « Clickframes on September 17, 2009 at 9:32 am

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