Imagine trying to build a house from the ground up without a blueprint. You don’t have to be a contractor to know that doing so would be a recipe for disaster. In addition to wasting a lot of time and money, you are likely to fall into to trap of adding on just “one more” thing. A second sink in the bathroom turns into adding an entire second bathroom. Adding another bathroom means running additional plumbing lines, electricity, etc. The next thing you know, you’ve gone way overboard.
In short, It would be a disaster.
Trying to complete a design project without a wireframe leads to similar problems. When you don’t have a basic framework to guide you through the process, scope creep is a common problem. Clients change requirements and decide on last-minute additions. This can result in project delays and cause you to go over budget
Wireframe tools help you make a plan for your project and help guide you through the entire process. Keep reading to learn more about how to prevent scope creep with wireframe tools.
What Is a Wireframe Tool?
Let’s start with the basics. If you are already familiar with wireframe tools and what they do, feel free to skip to the next section. If not, they are tools that allow you to create visual mockups for projects. They are used to outline the basic structure of a website, landing page, or app. They can also be used for creating diagrams or mapping out customer journeys.
Traditionally, Wireframes are relatively simple in nature. They use simple shapes and elements to map out exactly where every piece of content and UI element will be located in the final deliverable. They can easily be modified and allow you to change where things are located, add or subtract elements, etc. to meet your clients’ needs.
Some of the more powerful wireframe tools also have features that enable you to create functional prototypes that you can use to test designs prior to going live.
Now, let’s discuss how you can use these tools to prevent scope creep.
Start with a Solid Plan:
A solid plan is the foundation for any successful project. Before you start working on anything, it is important to conduct a detailed client/project discovery. Ask questions to figure out exactly what your client needs, and use the answers to come up with an accurate cost and time estimate for the project.
Once you and your client have agreed on the scope of the project, use a wireframe tool to create a detailed outline of the project. You can create a rough mockup of the layout of a website or app, or you can create an outline of the steps necessary to complete virtually any other type of project. Make sure that everything in your wireframe makes sense and is clearly labeled.
Present the wireframe to your client with you submit your proposal. Take the time to go over it in depth. Answer any questions the client may have, and make adjustments as needed. Make sure that any stakeholders involved in the project are involved in this part of the process, too. Now is the time to get everyone on the same page and make changes as needed.
Starting with a solid plan and getting everyone involved in the project early on is one of the most powerful ways in which you can use wireframe tools to prevent scope creep. If your client requests additional work or changes once the project has begun, you can refer to them to the exact scope of work and wireframe that they agreed to.
Identify Potential Problems:
Few things are worse than promising something to a client and then realizing, for one reason or another, that what you promised isn’t a possibility. When you create a wireframe early on in the project, it provides an opportunity for you to identify potential problems.
Using wireframe tools with prototyping features can prevent headaches later on in the project, too. These features make it possible for you to test and validate designs before delivering them to your client. This prevents scope creep by ensuring that everything works flawlessly and won’t need to be fixed later down the line.
Use Wireframes to Facilitate Effective Communication:
Wireframes can be used by UX designers and project managers as powerful communication tools. Just like blueprints serve as the basis for the final construction of a building, wireframes are the basis for designing websites, apps, etc.
Rather than being a static map, though, wireframes lay out an entire project and show all the ways in which the various elements connect and work with each other. Wireframe tools allow you to create outlines that can easily be modified, and you can clearly see how those modifications impact the entire project.
If you are building a website, for example, a client may not understand the impact that adding a single page could have on the entire project. From their perspective, they can only see the addition of that one page. With wireframes, though, you can clearly show the client that adding that one page would require you to update the navigation, change internal links, etc. Instead of only seeing the one page that they are thinking about adding, they can see the impact that a single page could have on the entire project. Wireframes make it much easier to communicate these things, and when clients are better informed of the impact of change requests on the overall project, they are less likely to insist on them.
Scope creep can be a serious problem for everyone involved in a project. It drives up costs and makes projects take longer than anticipated. With wireframe tools, you can establish a scope of work, communicate with your client, and ensure that everyone is on the same page from beginning to end. In doing so, you can keep scope creep to a minimum and ensure the success of your project.