Hi-Fi? Lo-Fi? WTFi?

Erik Swenson has published a post showing his phenomenal collection of wireframes for SharePoint 2010. I remember when he showed me his SharePoint 2007 wireframes in Montreal last year and being blown away.

Erik’s approach is to go super Hi-Fi. By that I mean that he creates exact, faithful reproductions of the SharePoint interface in Visio. But, since Erik is not allowed to share these widely, you may want to consider another approach: Instead of creating Hi-Fi wireframes (and investing the incredible amount of work required), try the Lo-Fi approach.

I prefer this course of action, because, depending on the phase of the project, I don’t want clients to think too much about how it will ‘actually look’, but more about ‘what function/element belongs where’.

The tool I use is super fast and easy (and cheap), and you can even use it interactively during client workshops. It is called Balsamiq Mockups (www.balsamiq.com).

And, just when you think this can’t possibly get any easier, along comes Gordon MacLeod (a fellow Torontonian) who has created a bunch of pre-built SharePoint elements that you can download for free from here: http://mockupstogo.net/prebuilt-sharepoint-elements.

I have heard great arguments for both the Lo-Fi and Hi-Fi approaches, and they both have their uses. For me, fast, schematic and interactive wins out.

Happy wireframing,

Ruven

About Ruven Gotz

Ruven Gotz is a Director with Avanade, Microsoft’s Global Partner. As a Microsoft SharePoint MVP with over 20 years of IT industry experience, Ruven has spent the past nine years delivering award-winning SharePoint solutions for a wide range of clients. Working as a Business Analyst and Information Architect, Ruven is able to apply his eclectic education and varied experience in Psychology, Computer Science, Economics, Software Development and Training to get to the heart of complex problems. Ruven is a great communicator who is able to discuss technology concepts in language that is relevant to his audience, whether they are from IT or business. He has become a leader in the use of visual tools to help his clients and team members achieve shared understanding of problems and goals and shared commitment towards implementing a successful solution. Ruven recently authored “Practical SharePoint 2010 Information Architecture” (Apress) Ruven lives in Toronto, Canada. On Tuesday nights in the summer, you’ll find him racing his 24’ sailboat ‘In the Groove’ (NOTE: Ideas and opinions on this blog are my own: I am not representing my employer.)
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3 Responses to Hi-Fi? Lo-Fi? WTFi?

  1. I absolutely agree with Ruven. Simple and interactive is the best approach.

    Most of the time I actually just use a large piece of paper, chart paper, or a whiteboard to draw the wireframes out (think boxes drawn around on a page representing elements) and find that this simplified approach not only allows it to be more engaging but also allows the client to contribute to the drawing.

  2. Hina says:

    what does wtfi mean??????????

    • ruveng says:

      Hina, it doesn’t really mean anything. It’s a play on WTF, which is a rude expression (roughly meaning ‘what the heck’). I added the ‘i’ to make it rhyme with the other words in the title.

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