BestOfGeeks: Getting you app from wireframing to prototyping to user testing  

Getting you app from wireframing to prototyping to user testing


Noredine BAHRI
Noredine BAHRI
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2016-11-03 11:38:51

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Getting you app from wireframing to prototyping to user testing

Moving an idea out of your head and into the market is not a simple process. There are a lot of obstacles which can get in the way if you let them. But, if you follow a few simple rules, then you can minimize these difficulties and get your idea into the hands of real users much more quickly.

We have talked a lot about idea validation recently and this is an essential part of the process.

Once you are happy that you are working on a real solution to a real problem, you can start designing the solution. If you think this is going to be a simple process then you are wrong. There are an intense number of stages.

Wireframing

According to ExperienceUX: Wireframing is a way to design a website service at the structural level. A wireframe is commonly used to lay out content and functionality on a page which takes into account user needs and journeys. Wireframes are used early in the development process to establish the basic structure of a page before visual design and content is added.

Lesson 1: start with mobile

You have the solution in your head and you know that you are going to work on an app-based design. Now, the first lesson is you should always start with mobile.

Mobile first is a concept that was championed by Luke Wroblewski.There are pros and cons to the argument for mobile first as a concept, but we have to begin somewhere. The basic reason for going with mobile first, in my view, is that you are going to be putting your app in the hands of users. Going this route will improve the feedback that you will get.

Lesson 2: ignore trends

So, you are going to design an app for a mobile device. Lesson two is to ignore trends completely. The first stage is to sketch out the broad superstructure of the app: basically the skeleton.

This can be done very easily on paper. This is usually the best place to start because you can quickly move through the screens, rearrange them as you go, and move through numerous drafts quickly.

wireframe graphic

Once you have got to the stage where you are happy with the basic design of the wireframe, you want to start putting it onto the screen. An app that helps with this is Fluid UI, which can achieved this even quicker than paper wireframing.

Lesson 3: get feedback

Once you have designed the screens in the basic outline, you get the first real sense of how they will look. At this stage, it is important to go back to your team, colleagues, and stakeholders to get some feedback.

Put the wireframe in their hand and show them how pages will scroll and how they will transition from one page to the next. The great advantage of this is others will always see things that you miss. That is the main reason why feedback and research is essential and should be a constant part of the process.

Prototyping

With some tools, it is not possible to create both wireframes and prototypes. For a lot of people, this is not a problem. However, to be able to move from the wireframe to the prototype also has a lot of advantages.

So now you have the wireframes in the editor, you have put a lot of work into them, and you have received a lot of feedback. Next, you need to move on to the prototype. At this stage, you are moving to a high-fidelity representation of the app.

You want to be able to do two things at the end of this stage: put the app in the hands of stakeholders and have them get a very clear idea of how the app will function.

User Testing

User testing is a slight misnomer. You are not “testing the user.” You are testing the usability of your design. If you take nothing but that point away from this post then you would have learned something of value.

Guinness app

Everyone thinks they have an idea for a great app. Someone might even think that an app where you can look at a perfect pint of Guinness would be just the ticket.

But, let’s be honest how many people are going to pull out an app just to make sure that the barman is pouring the pint correctly? Not many. And of those who would, I am pretty confident none of those are Guinness drinkers.

I’ve done a lot of research and I’m confident that my results are correct. So, if your app is going to be a success, it has to appeal to a certain user base and it has to solve some problem for that cohort.

It has to be a real problem.

Now, instead of looking at a perfect pint, finding the best pint of Guinness within walking distance is more likely to succeed because it solves a problem that a user set would have.

Guinness app 2

Suddenly an app that was not going to be of any use to anyone is now a potential resource for several user cohorts.

You don’t really need hundreds of users to come to that conclusion. Sometimes three to five users can give you very powerful insights into the utility of your solution. The most important point is that you find users and conduct research.

Disclosure: Brian is part of the communications team at Fluid UI.


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