The planning stage of a new design doesn’t end with research. Research answers the “who” and “what” questions, but not the “how” questions. The next tool in the true UX designer’s tool belt is most commonly referred to as prototyping (or wireframing). In a nutshell, prototyping involves taking all of those funnels, forms, and CTAs, organizing them in a way that makes everybody happy, and defining specific functionality before you start design – and it can be as simple or complex as you want it to be. This is where true UX designers stand above the rest and where we could all stand to improve.
In the future I will dedicate whole posts to prototyping. I will break down my own practice and offer suggestions for designers who don’t prototype. And speaking of designers who don’t prototype, here are a few reasons why you might consider incorporating some amount of prototyping into your design process. This list comes out of my own experience as a non-prototyper who ultimately saw the light and converted: