Without Wireframes, Your Idea Is Just a Bunch of Words Subject to Interpretation
The BEST way to get the ideas that are locked up in your head out of your head is through the use of wireframes, which are also referred to as mockups. If you don’t use wireframes, you are setting yourself up for a potential disaster. This is because the images that are swirling in your head about what your app looks like are probably very different from your developer’s interpretation of that app idea. And sometimes what you think works in your head doesn’t really work. But you don’t know that until someone starts drawing it out. And describing this stuff using words is near impossible.
Don’t believe me? Take a look at the mockups above. They are very visual. You can quickly see how the pages are supposed to behave. And there are callouts explaining certain behaviors that may not be clear. Now how would you describe those pages using just words? Its not easy.
Just Enough Fidelity and Detail To Get The App Flow Properly Set
The fidelity of your wireframes needs to be just high enough to get the main point across. You don’t need high resolution PSD files here. We are talking mostly about getting the flow right, not the color schemes and whether the buttons have rounded or square corners. That shit’s irrelevant at this stage of your app. Get your flow down first, and worry about graphic elements later, AFTER the flow is set up properly for all use cases.
The flow is where you will run into a lot of problems if you don’t get it right. If you are outsourcing the development of your app to a software dev shop, it is highly likely that you will pay a lot more money for rework if the team building the app interprets your ideas one way, but you meant something else or if the workflow doesn’t really work the way you thought it would. So just do it. Use a wireframing tool. You will save yourself money, development time delays, and a ton of frustration.
I use Balsamiq Mockups. For me, it’s one of the best tools out there. It is simple to use, relatively easy to master, inexpensive, and has enough widgets and elements to wireframe just about any kind of application to a point where any development team on the planet can understand how your application is supposed to behave. And that’s something that you cannot do just with words.