We’v all heard the campfire stories of businesses being funded based on a sketch on napkin, but when the occasion calls for more than a sketch to convey the power of your new web application, mobile app or any device with an interface, wireframing does the trick.
Wireframes allow you to storyboard your application without needing the skill of a coder or the eye of a designer by allowing you draw basic elements that represents the skeletal framework of an application. The wireframe usually lacks fancy font types, refined color pallets or any life-like graphics for that matter. This forces both the creator and audience to focus on the functionality and priority of the content displayed on the various screens throughout the application.
Wireframes can be as simple as a collection of drawings on graph paper or as complex as fully CSSed website minus the database connection. I personally found a happy medium with an application called SwordSoft Layout (available for Mac and PC).
By keeping things digital it allows you to quickly replicate screens so you only have to change a few elements each time to build out the application. The real party piece of SwordSoft Layout however is the ability to activate any element (buttons, pictures, links, etc.) so that when clicked on, it takes the user to the next appropriate wireframe. THIS IS HUGE!!! for replicating the usability and user experience of the app before a line of code is even written.
This is also why I highly recommend SwordSoft Layout over Microsoft Powerpoint or Apple’s Keynote because those applications are really only good for linear presentations. Wireframes at their best can transform skeptics into believers and at their worst, open the door to brutal feedback. Both outcomes are great in my opinion. So let’s recap and tie this back into the original hook of this post.
Wireframing Saves Time
- Developers spend more time asking the tough questions, not on fluff
- The time before getting quick feedback from friends and advisors is close to zero (you can do this in a weekend)
- Wireframe allow you to show a visual aid for investors to “get it”, instead of just blabbering on
Wireframing Saves Money
- You’ve cut 25 to 50% of the development cost in miss communication overruns
- You can do it in your spare time without relying on costly professional help
- You can do it for free with a pen & paper or my preferred SwordSoft Layout app
- You’ll be able to see if it worth moving forward with your idea or pull the plug before your put serious cash into the project