Thursday, September 1, 2011

From Wireframes to Beta: Failing, Winning and Launching, Often

Wireframes. Prototypes. Mockups: Sometimes they succeed, sometimes they fail.

The more quickly you get through the fails, learn, and fix them, the more quickly you can succeed.

Here's how.

Today, right now, do a sketch: in Omnigraffle, on a whiteboard, with a pencil, with Balsamiq, Mockingbird ... it doesn't matter.

It doesn't have to be the whole site, app, or tool -- start with just a piece of it.
Dive into the middle and swim back to the surface. You are expected to argue with yourself while you are doing this.

Show this low fidelity wireframe to people; get comments and feedback. See where it succeeds, see where it fails.

Refine it. Or go back to the beginning, and start over.


Now you have a higher fidelity wireframe.

Show this to more people: get comments, refine, repeat.

You're moving toward a prototype.

Now, start adding actual content to sub for lorem ipsum, or bring in a content writer (I do content strategy and writing, so I do this part myself); start doing visual design, or bring in a colleague (I reach out for help here).

You're moving from prototype to mockup.

Show people, refine, repeat a few times with this approach.

Whoa, you're ready for beta.

Now, do another.

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