How Balsamiq Mockups Can Enable You To Bring Down Your App Development Costs
Do you have a ton of money to spend waste on your App Development project?
We also did not have ample money when we first built our first app 6 years ago. We learned to save a few dollars on app development process through trial and error, learned a thing or two about how right kind of rework can save a good amount of $$$ on the overall efforts. We thought to share it with you.
We eat our dog food: before offering an advise, we experience it on our own.
We are sure you want your app idea to stand out in the crowded app stores and all your struggle revolves around one goal: Making your app successful.
To make your app successful, you save dollars from your day job, share your idea to your friends and family and pitch the idea to your potential investors and do everything possible to excite them around your idea.
But you know what, Ideas are worthless. Execution around the right idea is what matters.
Every sensible current or future stakeholder of your app would know and affirm the importance of execution. Your investors, your clients, your co-founders, even your team members … everyone.
So let us jump onto the execution part, and start hiring a kick-ass development team, right?
Jumping onto the development from an idea stage is a mistake.
Execution is good only when it’s the right kind.
There is a lot of noise around app development out there on the internet. $499 app development software … $49 app template that can be re-skinned within just 2 days … mobile app source code for just $99, 70% off offer ends today!
These kind of messages, regardless of their authenticity, do a great job: they confuse the Appreneur enough through their marketing message.
Perhaps that’s the reason many Appreneurs feel that making an app is no big deal. It can be done without giving much attention to its user experience design. And that is the reason they think it is okay to jump on the development part as soon as possible.
It is not okay.
It is not okay because it will add a significant burden on your pockets in terms of coding & development rework and delay your dream to make your app idea successful.
Development rework = Bad (costs you much more money).
Rework at ideation and wireframe level = Good (saves you money!)
It is tempting to hire development teams as soon as possible, explain them about the idea and have them get started quickly. It is a mistake.
It is a mistake because this process does not pay attention to a very important aspect of the app development: Design Thinking.
Design Thinking is a ‘Solutions Focused Problem Solving Approach’ while jumping onto the Development is a ‘Problem Focused Problem Solving Approach’.
Solutions Thinking = Good. Researchers affirm that. Read on for a specific example of such a research on Design Thinking:
Enter 1972. Bryan Lawson, an architect and design researcher, conducted an experiment to investigate the difference between problem-focused solvers and solution-focused solvers. He took two groups of people — final year students in architecture and post-graduate science students — and asked them to create one-layer structures from a set of colored blocks. The perimeter of the structure had to optimize either the red or the blue color; however, there were unspecified rules governing the placement and relationship of some of the blocks. Bryan found that:
The scientists adopted a technique of trying out a series of designs which used as many different blocks and combinations of blocks as possible as quickly as possible. Thus they tried to maximize the information available to them about the allowed combinations. If they could discover the rule governing which combinations of blocks were allowed they could then search for an arrangement which would optimize the required color around the layout. [problem-focused] By contrast, the architects selected their blocks in order to achieve the appropriately colored perimeter. If this proved not to be an acceptable combination, then the next most favorably colored block combination would be substituted and so on until an acceptable solution was discovered. [solution-focused] — Bryan Lawson, How Designers Think (Here’s the Amazon Link where you can buy the book.)
Be a solution-focused problem solver.
Before jumping into the development stage, choose to create wireframes around your idea and let significant amount of iterations and brainstorming happen at this stage.
Iterate at a wireframe level before jumping into the coding & development. This is our insanely simple recommendation. Take it to your heart!
(One) Effective Way to Wireframe Around an Idea
For wireframing, you can use any tool of your choice, including pen & paper or you can use a tool such as Balsamiq Mockups.
Balsamiq makes it easier to present, share and explain your app ideas.
Balsamiq comes with some useful features to help you build the prototype the way you want including sketch-style controls, third party extensions with extra controls and tools to export to HTML and code, clean wireframe options and version control feature through which the iteration history could be tracked.
It also allows you to spot any potential issues in the structure or flow of your app before you spend hours and dollars on the UI design and development.
Iterating Wireframes = Easy + Cost Effective
Iterating at a Development Level = Not so easy + Expensive
Choose what is cost effective to your startup.
How to Leverage Balsamiq Mockups
Balsamiq is very similar to the real web or app. It makes you look at your idea from 5000 ft. It makes the “flow” of the app pretty clear to you. It is as easy as drawing on a sheet of paper. You can rearrange stuff and iterate the design in the real time and can sit back and work with other team members on the wireframes in one go.
1. Easy + Readymade Design Objects
Balsamiq helps you to quickly create interactive wireframes with various shapes, boxes and texts. With over 500 icons from the Font Awesome Icon Set, Balsamiq could help you easily create life like interactions by adding such icons to your design screens realistically.
You can also access grids and guides and many other such tools that will help you work at the right fidelity for your idea. It also offers tons of UI elements with a drag and drop function helping you iterate easily and painlessly.
2. Quick & Agile Iteration
Iterating mockups using Balsamiq requires less investment of time and efforts. It is almost impossible to procrastinate on iteration. Whow!
What’s more, it also provides revision history which enables you to keep track of the changes and iterations made.
3. Collaborate with your Colleagues
Balsamiq also acts as a ‘common tool’ between you and your colleagues regardless of the role you are playing. In-tool collaboration makes the iterations better than informal presentation sessions which are usually organized amongst the team members.
It offers some more goodies: 3rd party extensions through which you can access custom icons, extra controls and tools to export to HTML. With Balsamiq Mockup 3 you can also wireframe desktop apps, websites, mobile apps and more.
4. Friendly Feedback Loop
Balsamiq simplifies your feedback process by having team members comment directly on designs from within the mockup.
Balsamic provides with clickable prototypes for small projects and rapid prototyping which you can share with your friends and colleagues through PDF.
A wireframe will bring your idea to a visual life. It will bring the noise out of your head and will make it free to take your idea to further depth.
It is important to note that any wireframing tool can work for wireframing process. Our experience with Balsamiq has been pretty good and we use it as our preferred tool, your choice might be different.
Key is to understand that by getting to the greater depth of app development, and employing right tools for the right needs, you can not only save a lot of $$$ but also significantly improve quality of your app as well as motivation of the people responsible to design and develop the app.
You want both: A quality app + motivated team members who enjoy working and bettering your app, don’t you?
In closing, we’d like to emphasize this thought once again: Iterate at a wireframe (and then prototype) level before jumping into the coding & development.
Have questions? Feel free to drop a line on email@example.com for more details.