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5 signs you should use Wireframe Software over PowerPoint by Martin Metz

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5 signs you should use Wireframe Software over PowerPoint by
Article Posted: 06/14/2013
Article Views: 55
Articles Written: 169
Word Count: 906
Article Votes: 0
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5 signs you should use Wireframe Software over PowerPoint


Cut down on the emails and get in the cloud

We all know the situation. You have been asked by your boss to create some wireframes for a new project. You’re under a tight schedule, so you get to work on PowerPoint. Now, there are times for PowerPoint and there are times for real wireframe software. First and foremost, PowerPoint is software that is specifically designed for holding presentations. If you are mocking up a few pages of an app, PowerPoint may suffice for a quick demo or pitch, but there are times when you need to move on to a dedicated wireframe tool. Below are some signs that you might need to upgrade to real wireframe software.

1. You are drowning in emails

I know our inboxes are always full and we are always looking for ways to organize our projects. But when it’s the wireframing stage of a project, do you really want to be getting emails from team members with all their tiny alterations? How can you possibly keep track of latest versions and what changes are really necessary when you are not there? So everything gets exchanged via email and you end up with the longest thread you ever imagined. The wireframe tool I use lets me share prototypes with others and decide what access rights they should have. That means everything is documented in the tool and my design team can make the changes, whereas my business stakeholders can make comments in the tool. This is the setup that works well for me so far.

2. You get the wrong feedback

By the wrong feedback, I mean the wrong type of feedback. In a position where you are managing stakeholder requirements, you have to be prepared for the fact that you will have overlooked some issues that only an expert in another area will pick up on. You should also embrace the fact that you can get this feedback early. The wrong feedback is of course the feedback you don’t really need when you are starting out with wireframes. In PowerPoint it is possible for anyone to make changes to your designs, even if they themselves aren’t a graphic designer. One thing about my wireframe software that I like is the fact that I can choose between a sketched and more polished look, depending on how much experience my stakeholders have with prototypes and wireframes . I can also start a discussion thread in my tool and ask about a specific set of UI elements, so that my team can be more focused when they write comments.

3. You need a sitemap

While there are features in PowerPoint to help you group your slides and to give you an overview, I still end up hand-sketching my sitemaps. With a wireframe tool, a sitemap can sometimes be automatically generated, or I can make my own user flows with the thumbnails of my pages. My wireframe tool also automatically knows which pages link to what, which helps even more. After all, there’s nothing worse than giving a demo when you have forgotten to add vital links to your prototype. What’s more, information architecture is something you absolutely cannot underestimate. Poor navigation and organization of your pages is something that costs a lot of money to rework later on. Just talk to your SEO team.

4. You need user feedback

Whether for product validation, or usability testing, you cannot underestimate the importance of user feedback. By all means, use PowerPoint in a product demonstration to your target audience, summarizing how this will make their lives easier and what the product is about. If you want real user validation though, hand them a smartphone with a functional prototype. Better yet, hand them that device with a prototype running when they are in the situation where they would be expected to use an app. Don’t worry if you think it’s too early. You will still be able to get valuable feedback just from seeing your users in the context they will be using your website or app.

5. Your next step is HTML

What I think can be dangerous about using PowerPoint is that you then go straight to Photoshop and HTML, or even a hi-fi prototyping tool without going through the right steps beforehand. Worse still, what if someone else has done the mockup in PowerPoint and asks you or a team member to code the wireframes without understanding that there is much more to the process than that. From my experience, I have found that generating a specification document from my wireframe tool has helped in the process where you want to move into code. Also, because there are some UI elements, such as dropdown menus, which I can’t simulate in PowerPoint, this also makes me think about what I may want in my menu, for example.

These are five signs that PowerPoint might not be the right option for creating your wireframes. There are plenty of other reasons out there, but these are some of the ones I have found particularly relevant to the workflow of my clients.

About the Author – Wireframe, Interface Design, Wireframe Software, Interface Design Software and GUI Prototyping Tool. A GUI Design Interface Software for clickable Wireframes! Wireframe creating and GUI prototyping tool.

Related Articles - interface design software, wireframe software, wireframe tool, wireframing software,

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