Many years ago I was working on a project for a client. They were happy, I was happy and the project was moving along beautifully. Seeing how pleased I was, my client turned to me and said, "Just remember, John. One "aw sh**" wipes out ten atta-boys."
POW. I never forgot that. His statement stuck and has been a foundation for how I do things ever since. One area in particular where I put that lesson to use is in the planning of web application projects before production (coding) begins.
And by "application," I mean a website, a desktop app, a mobile app... it doesn't matter. Today it's best to think of everything as an app.
By "planning," I mean taking the time to wireframe and prototype the application to ensure there are no pitfalls, false expectations or problems that may crop up in the future. It's all about foreseeing and eliminating a devestating "aw sh**" moment that could later on effect the timeline, cost, stability or even success of the project.
So, what's a good wireframing and prototyping tool out there today? Recently we've begun using a new application called JustInMind. From the moment I started playing around with it, I fell in love.
JustInMind has managed to blend in a bit of both worlds: the design and the interactivity in wireframing and prototyping a development project. I can plot out the wireframe with clickable buttons, menus, etc. I can prototype workflow. And I can also develop a sense of the actual UI design.
Perfect for application development
Whether it's a website, a mobile app, a custom desktop app, etc., we have started using JustInMind to lay out the wireframe, UI/UX and flow of our client application development projects. What we're really liking is that our clients don't have to picture in their mind what the final product will look like. With this app, they can see, click, maneuver and prototype what the final product will be, along with an extremely accurate representation of what the application will actually look like, design-wise.
One of the cool features in JustInMind is the ability to quickly jump back and forth in previewing between devices to see how the website or app will look and function. Create an app for an iPhone, then review it on an Android tablet, then a desktop. Quick and easy.
What's not to love?
Creating some interactivity functions can involve a steep learning curve. For instance, it took me several hours to figure out how to create a slide-out, pull-down menu for a mobile application design. I eventually figured it out, but the numerous steps involved seemed excessive for how common the function is on mobile devices. I'm hoping that will be rectified in future versions.
Regardless, this app is already saving our clients (and us) a tremendous amount of time and cost by reducing false starts, miscommunications or misaligned expectations.
That means more attaboys. Fewer "Aw sh**s."
Website link: http://www.justinmind.com/