Based on my experience, over the years I’ve found that majority of entrepreneurs are really good at communicating their business vision, however, when it comes to final IT product such as websites and mobile apps, most of the time those visionaries lack the background to explain the finer details of what they are seeking.
Some entrepreneurs perfectly understand that and decide to let the software developer take the reins. The sad news is the end result is always inconsistent with their vision. Therefore, to minimize misunderstanding and save time and money, entrepreneurs should also learn how to sketch board, wireframe and prototype their ideas, web pages and the screens of their application.
Below are some widely used tools that I think can help improve communication between you and your software engineer:
1. Storyboards: story board is a real simple technique that doesn’t require any technical knowledge. Using a pen and paper, you should think through the detailed parts of the user interface and draw a sketch for each of your application screens. You want to create a lot of quick sketches without worrying about how they look, discuss them and your ideas with your team, and pick the best solution.
The most important thing with storyboards is to find the most optimal path for the user to accomplish a task. Because it’s easy to shuffle sketches around, you can explore many possible solutions within minutes.
2. Flowcharts: In a flowchart, you use those pre-defined symbols (either standard or not) to represent each step of the process. The symbols are linked together with arrows showing the process flow direction.
As an entrepreneur, you should use flowcharts to visually communicate your desired processes and user flows to developers. When you discuss flowcharts with your developers, you can identify flaws, bottlenecks and inefficiencies in the flow or process.
3. Business use cases: These explain how you should respond to specific situations. For example, if you have an iPhone application for booking restaurant seat, you should define how a user starts to enter his/her information, how the booking is processed and how the pass is issued.
And it’s important to define some situational use cases (what if scenarios) for developers because they probably won’t be familiar with the inner workings of your business.
4. Click-through prototypes with links: Click-through prototypes are clickable wireframes that allow users to interact with the screens. The first step is to create a wireframe for each of your pages. Then, you can connect the pages using the links feature that most wireframe tools provide.
Prototypes bring the screens to life, helping you see and understand the problem you are trying to solve and uncover any potential usability issues.