As an app developer or designer, it’s likely that aside from the client projects you work on, you have millions of ideas for personal projects. Usually, these are the projects you have to deal with in your spare time, and for this reason, developing them takes much longer than a client project.
To keep track of all the project ideas you have, you probably have a blog or notebook that you take with you everywhere. Or perhaps you prefer to use an application by app development companies on your tablet. No matter what your preferred medium is, you know that you cannot go from the general idea to the final design, it is necessary to make sketches. Several intermediate steps have to be taken to ensure the success of your project. In this article, we tell you what those steps are, and we give you guidelines to give that visual aspect to your ideas.
Start with the general characteristics
When you describe your initial idea in words, you usually don’t give details about it. After all, you also have a general concept, and you haven’t thought about the specifics of your application yet. Usually, you only describe the main use of this application and its most basic and important options.
The visual process for putting your ideas on paper and making them grow should be treated in the same way, starting with the general and addressing the particular. In the case of an application, you can draw thumbnail views of the interface. They don’t need to be detailed drawings; they could just be easy to recognize figures.
You can make a sketch per view, each sketch you make serves to visualize the characteristics of the application. In such a case, it would be a feature per sketch. You do not need to do ten different views; it is enough that you take into account the main characteristics of the application.
After having the sketches, it is important to describe each view or associate a descriptive name and add the purpose and how it works in your notes.
Check your sketches and improve them
You probably can’t develop an idea in one night. It depends a lot on your work style. Some ideas take longer to develop than others, and in many cases, the idea will be around for days or weeks in your head, so set a certain time in which you will return to review your sketches. Some of them are likely to change completely, while others slightly. Repeat this process until it seems enough. A reasonably clear indicator that the time has come to move on to the next phase is when you look at your sketches, and it seems to you that there is nothing that needs to be changed. Only then can you move on to the next phase and focus on the details.
If you’re using a blog to make app sketches, be sure to use some sticky separators to easily find pages that contain visual app ideas. If you use any digital medium, be sure to use descriptive names for your files and place them in an organized manner in a folder.
Making the details
Once you have a clearer idea of what the interface looks like, you can move on to drawing it on a large scale. In this phase, you can add as many details as you like, but you don’t have to be very exact with the illustrations. Remember that they are still a sketch, and you are using it as an indicator for when they go digital. Instead of paying attention to graphic interface details, focus on the interaction features. Having these details well defined helps take the user experience into account from the start, not to mention that you can make improvements on the fly, while they’re still a sketch.
You can start by taking detailed views of the general characteristics of the interface that you have already defined in the previous phases. As in the previous stages, use simple drawings and annotations that briefly explain your sketches.
Using the group approach
This way of making visual representations is also optimal for work teams. All they need is to have the same template or work with the same program. They could use printed templates from a cell phone to start sketching with a pencil and paper. In this way, each member has the same spaces to draw and uses the same format.
It is necessary that before starting, the work process is explained in detail, and doubts are answered if there are any. Likewise, they must establish schedules to start and end group activities. In principle, making a sketch takes no more than 5 or 15 minutes if everyone has a clear idea of the purpose of the application.
Once the time for sketching is over, you can paste it on a blackboard or some wall. There you must indicate the best features that have been designed for the application, as well as a list of the best ideas that have emerged in this process.