A picture is worth a thousand words and still we express ourselves mainly in words, just like this blog post. Although many people will support the statement, we just think it is harder to express our thoughts with pictures. People claim that they are not artists. Anyhow, I guarantee that explaining your client what you want to develop with pictures leads to a much better end result. That’s why real estate developers use artistic impressions, it just sells better when people understand what they will buy. Software developers too often try to capture everything in functional and technical descriptions, but for a client it is hard to decide whether this will satisfy his needs. Unpleasant surprises might occur at the end of the project. Show a picture with your thoughts and the give rise to discussion.
How to express your thoughts?
Probably you are already using flow charts, wireframes and UML diagrams to express your thoughts, to share how you understand your client’s request. In fact, we used to do the same. Unfortunately, time after time we came to the conclusion that several clients did not fully understand what we were planning to develop despite all our effort with all kinds of diagrams. Besides the above mentioned drawing methods are for some people too time consuming or just too complex. As a matter of fact, a white piece of paper with some sketches is suitable for most cases. For sure it stimulates the discussion, the result can be very appealing and doesn’t need any words.
What to do if you are not an artist?
The above image is beautiful of course. Some people manage to draw everything on paper. Others are real wizards with Photoshop and show in no time by means of a gorgeous design how they interpreted the client’s request. Fortunately, also for all the others who don´t feel like being an artist a solution is available. Some time ago we found a tool that combines all the above: the balsamiq mockup tool. This week after exchanging some Tweets I concluded that still a lot of people could be looking for a great tool like balsamiq. A tool that let’s you design an interface in almost the same intuitive way like sketching on paper, within minutes.
Just draw what you think your client wants!
It definitely takes some time to get used to balsamiq, but I guarantee that once you start using it you will notice its power. From then on you will start drawing your client’s requests first. Within some minutes you can send him a ready image. It will be a lot easier for your client to reply. Once you agree upon the “design” it’s a matter of realizing the picture. This approach might take a little bit more time in the beginning, but for sure it saves time later on and, even more importantly, it leads to more satisfied clients.
The following YouTube movie shows you in a little bit more than two minutes the power of Balsamiq.
Please share your opinion and experiences
It might be clear that we are very satisfied with balsamiq, but this doesn’t mean that there are no other or may be even better solutions. Please share your favorite tools and experiences with us by commenting below or discuss with us on Twitter: @GOYELLO.
VP Software Development Europe for Aspire Systems. Sociologist and electrotechnical engineer, a great combination that stimulates him to look for the best working software solutions for clients. Passionate about converting great ideas into new solutions. Married and a proud father of 3 great sons. Training for and participating in triathlons/runs to stay fit.
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