When you are talking to a customer about the setup of their new SharePoint site or portal, very often they have trouble visualising the structure and look and feel of the interface they will get. Of course, it is rather easy cranking up a virtual machine and prototyping in SharePoint directly, but then you risk that they will focus on the colours and fonts instead of the functionality they will get (you know, the marketing guy saying: “that’s not the blue of our house style!”).
During the SharePoint Best Practices Conference last february, I attended a workshop by Ruven Gotz, and he talked about Balsamiq Mockups as a tool to help you run requirements workshops. I tried it out today, and it really is a great application that any Information Worker consultant should have in his/her toolset.
What I like about it:
- it is an Adobe Air application, so cross platform (I am testing on my Mac, but will use it on a pc)
- very simple and intuitive
- it produces “style independent” mockups, so nobody will complain about colours or fonts, but focus on the functionalities
If you want to know more:
- visit the web site and try it yourself
- download some SharePoint components you can use immediately for your mockups
Reasons enough to give it a try. And if this would not be enough, read some more about the company behind this product. In an era of profit, shareholders value, unlimited growth, they got their priorities right.