How much should you prototype?

Hello friends!

Here’s a quick post about something that just crossed my mind. I felt like blogging, so I said why not write it down here.

I’ve seen a bunch of prototypes built with FlairBuilder lately. And some of them were pretty large. I guess that sometimes you need to prototype a lot of user interface elements, specially if the UI is pretty complex.

But I just feel like you don’t really have to. At least not most of the times. Here’s why:

Prototyping software is not like actually you are going to implement it right there. Prototyping is for exploring, is for those things that you can’t really communicate verbally. If you’re going into every tiny detail, you’re loosing precious time.

Wireframes are not supposed to replace you and your expertise and your ideas. You are still the one, and creative mind, and person that knows exactly how the software should be done. You will not be able to pass all that knowledge though a detailed wireframe, no matter what.

Wireframes are impersonal and their effect is not necessarily predictable. Chances are that you’ll get misunderstood. Wireframes surely help a lot in visually communicating complex interactions, but if there’s a misunderstanding, they should get back to you. Be ready and prepared.

Start low, and iterate to the top. Don’t overwhelm your clients with a huge pile of wireframe designs up front. Let them participate sooner rather than later. They’ll thank you for that and you’ll get valuable insight when you need it most. There’s a lot to talk here, and I’ll try to get back to this some other time!

You have a nice week, now. I’ll get back to work, I have an awesome release in the woven! ;)

Cristian

2 comments on “How much should you prototype?

  1. I agree with your thoughts, Cristian. It’s important to remember we shouldn’t sweat the small stuff in wires and focus on the big picture. But, it’s nice to know FlairBuilder is powerful enough to create detailed prototypes.

    Looking forward to the new release! Keep up the good work.

  2. Jon E on

    Geez, if there was ever a blog post about what I did, this sure would be it. I won’t justify why I make them so detailed, but I agree with Ben when he says FB is powerful enough to create detailed prototypes. That is why I do it. I like to push the program to its limits and beyond.

    I can’t wait for the next release also.

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