A user story - in video

Wire-framing is God’s gift to requirements gathering.  Its true.  I’m a recent convert to formally including a wireframe in the design/requirments process.  Why this sudden conversion?  The discovery of a tool that makes it almost child’s play to explore your options: balsamiq.  Here is my top-5 list of why wireframing, and balsamiq in particular, is awesome:

  • with a wireframe tool, I can whip up a “sketch” of the screen(s) for a particular user story in less than an hour
  • the process of wireframing is the first test of the requirements and highlights very quickly when the requirements aren’t detailed enough.  I know within an hour if I have to go back to the client and I can show them what’s missing and why
  • I tend to be a form over function kind of guy, so this forces me into a make sure I have the functions (both data capture, and UX) in there, without worrying about how the CSS should work, or browser compatibility, or if that blue is too blue
  • you can begin to establish some conventions early:  where do buttons go, where do menus go, what’s a grid vs whats a list.  This is important so that when developers begin to code they already have a common understanding of how things will plug together.  Don’t get me wrong, you still need designers and so forth, but at a minimum you don’t have apples and oranges
  • probably the singularly most awesome thing is that it visually tells the story of what you are trying to accomplish.  They say a picture is worth a thousand words.  I say a picture is priceless if it brings consensus. Oh, and did I mention that balsamiq stores its wireframes as XML so they’re portable and easily modifyable?  Thought not.

I’ve been working on the wireframes for our next SaaS offering, and I thought I would share.  But then I thought, if a picture is awesome, a movie would be even better.  So here’s my first go at a user story come film:

I’d love to know what you think of the film, the concept (of making a film of mockups) and of the product itself.  I’ll be going through it in more detail as we work through the kinks.


Jon Holt

A coach, an entrepreneur, and a no-bull advisor in growing small businesses through the use of practical strategy, light-weight governance and sitting back and thinking about running your business, regardless of what you do.

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