I really like the responses on Which UI/UX sketching software is recommended?, and I see it as a valuable resource, however the question itself is lacking.

Is there a more constructive question that can be asked that still encompasses the gist of what was originally being asked (so that we can avoid losing relevance on older answers)?

I was thinking something along the lines of:

What are some examples of UI/UX mockup techniques?

But I'd like some feedback before I go hacking away at the core of someone else's question.

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3 Answers 3

That question isn't suitable for re-opening because it goes against specific StackExchange guidelines (not just ux.stackexchange but all stackexchange sites).

As per the FAQ, which is global for all SE sites (except for the 'What makes a good question' section which is site-specific):

To prevent your question from being flagged and possibly removed, avoid asking subjective questions where …

  • every answer is equally valid: “What’s your favorite __?”
  • your answer is provided along with the question, and you expect more answers: “I use __ for __, what do you use?”
  • there is no actual problem to be solved: “I’m curious if other people feel like I do.”
  • we are being asked an open-ended, hypothetical question: “What if __ happened?”
  • it is a rant disguised as a question: “__ sucks, am I right?”

Software recommendations would fall into the 'every answer is equally valid' category.

UX.StackExchange isn't alone in having user post questions requesting recommendations for products / books / software. So much so that a Jeff Atwood wrote a stackexhange blog post titled Q&A is Hard, Let’s Go Shopping! where he discussed such recommendation questions and why they're not really answerable in a Q&A format.

These questions may seem tolerable at first glance. Isn’t it our mandate to help our fellow users? But consider the voluminous amount of information you need to even begin properly answering a shopping question:

  • What is your budget?
  • Where do you live?
  • What are your preferences?
  • Which alternatives will you consider?
  • When do you want to buy?

Also, trawling through Meta.stackoverflow to see other similar posts about why 'X' question was closed off gives this particularly good response to such a question (regarding why a book recommendation question was closed off):

  1. What's to say a good book today is a good book tomorrow? Or the next day, or the next day?
  2. It's somewhat subjective. There's no real 'fact' here. I may think Fooing widgets, 3rd edition is the BESTEST EVAR. You may think the 2nd edition of 'Baring Foos' is awesome-sauce. Either way, what happens when the OP picks one or the other? It's all opinion.
  3. Finally, the answers could go on forever. There are 2,948 titles on Amazon for books about C# (according to an Amazon search on books for... wait for it... C#), so you could conceivably have 2,948 answers on the 'best book for C#'. Who's to say that one book is better than the others?

If it's a software recommendation that you're after then try to come at the question from a different angle. Instead of asking 'What are some examples of UI/UX mockup techniques?' change the question so that it focuses on the problem you're trying to solve. The answers you get may very well involve software suggestions, but they'll be answers that describe how to address the issue you have and the software recommendation is secondary: 'You can produce interactive wireframes to help to get your vision across to the client, software such as Axure provides this feature'

So, in answer to your actual question about what can be done to improve the question: well, nothing really. It's still there and searchable as a reference guide, it's not been deleted, but it's just not really appropriate for this site now that it's graduated from beta to live.

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I know the question isn't suitable for reopening; I'm trying to come up with a question that is suitable for reopening while still preserving the validity of the existing answers. My example question isn't very good. –  zzzzBov Jun 9 '12 at 19:46
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The current answers are preserved because the question is only closed, not deleted. There really isn't anything that can be done to that question to make it more suitable because all the answers are just subjective individual examples. No question can be composed where the answers consist of multiple examples because there will not be a 'correct' answer. –  JonW Jun 9 '12 at 20:19

This question can't be reopened because it doesn't have one answer and community wiki isn't the solution.

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The question can't be reopened as it stands right now, but that doesn't mean we can't come up with a good question that can reuse the same answers. I'm mostly concerned that there's a bunch of good content that's being wasted on a bad question. –  zzzzBov Jun 8 '12 at 0:15

Pretty much the only time an "X recommendation" question is left often is when it has a very well defined, narrow scope. In this case you're asking "What tool is best to do this particular task?" however the Sketching question is just asking generally which Sketching program is good; there's hardly a good answer there beyond personal opinion. Some prefer Photoshop just because they're so used to it; some prefer Balsamiq because it maintains the Sketch mindset so well, some prefer simpler programs to work quickly.

If you don't have a well stated goal, these questions fall into "all answers are equally valid" and votes turn into polling instead of "this is/is not an accurate answer to this problem".

Pretty much anything including the word "recommendation" is at best in the wrong mindset for a question. A better example would be "For simple low fidelity mockups would Axure or Balsamiq be more appropriate?" The answer here is at least rooted in the specific functionality and purpose of each software; Balsamiq makes intentionally low-fidelity mockups, Axure is a better tool for high fidelity mockups.

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