Wire-framing: worth the investment

At TJS we have long relied upon a detailed specification and design mock-ups to ensure we meet our clients expectations. However, a specification although useful, only provides a functional overview and the mock-ups rarely cover the entire site. We felt there was a step missing in our development process and we have addressed this this, we think for the better. For us, wire-framing used to consist of sketched ideas on paper that we felt limited our ability to provide the right impression to a client. After many trials we have settled with a wire-framing solution that provides our project managers, our creative department, our developers and most importantly our clients the understanding and clarity needed to visualise their final product. The work involved in creating the mock-ups is completely justified when you consider the development cost a change can have on the entire site midway through a build. Allowing all parties to see and experience the work-flow of the website can help to identify and remove any usability problems before any code is even written. Although wire-framing is a time intensive process, it shifts the work load towards the front of the time-line, which is a better way of working, in our opinion. It identifies problems earlier, which always improves the end product. The benefits far outweigh the investment as we strive to streamline our development process even further.