People who know me personally frequently joke about a few of my habits, most of them good; however one is my obsession with wireframing. I find that this process is severely overlooked by many people. While some are claiming not to have any artistic talent to maximize the process, and many others flat-out skip this step and immediately begin jumping into design &/or development, they are missing the core concept. Wireframing isn’t about creating pretty pictures, or creating profuse amounts which are all specifically detailed to the point it’s interfering with productivity. Instead, it is about visualizing your product. It’s always amazing how we can mentally conceptualize something and not see any flaws, but when we start to outline core pieces we may see the hairline cracks that would have went unnoticed until you’re already knee deep into building the idea. Or maybe not flaws, but even the ease of explaining patterns, and expected functionality. It’s easier to spend 2 minutes sketching a concept on a napkin, than trying to explain the idea to someone; as they say “an image is worth a thousand words”.
Personally, I always have a pocket sized moleskine in my back-pocket (negating the behest of my wife), I have a few sketch apps on my iPad, multiple full sized molskine’s I carry in companion with my laptop, a whiteboard at my office & home office, and the awesome Cling On Static Writeboard sheets that I carry to have instant whiteboard access for meetings outside my office. ABW (Always Be Wireframin’!).
Sure, this may be somewhat idée fixe, nonetheless this process and a constant state of readiness for me to brain-dump ideas allows myself to be as efficient, productive and tactical in my decisions. Evolution through constant iteration is a great way to stay innovative.