Designing the app part 1: sketches & mockups

Today we’re working on more sketches for the design of Thymer (👉 What are we going to build).

As I mentioned yesterday, the goal of sketching what the app should look like is to refine our thoughts on how everything should work, and to get a preview ready for the initial marketing/landing page.

Hopefully we’ll be able to get the landing page done within the next few days. I see it as the trailer of a movie. We need it to build an audience before the actual launch and to gauge the initial response. And to stay with movie analogies, the initial preview we post will be just a like a set: there’s no need yet to build a real street with real houses, just the facade.

Working on all the sketches also helps to expose a lot of hidden additional design decisions we need to make. Even though it’s just a mockup screenshot, we’re making a lot of mini design decisions already. It doesn’t look like much on the screenshot, but we’ve had to think about how to deal with indentation, how task attributes work when you can edit everything in plain text, scheduling vs due dates, assigning responsibilities, and so on. We’ll revisit some of these topics in the coming weeks and explain how they work when we build them out.

As for creating those mockups, my two tools of choice are good ol’ pen+paper and creating a plain HTML file with CSS. It’s just fast to iterate this way, and using tools like the browser’s Inspect Element lets you quickly try out different colors and so on. The earlier in the design process, the simpler the tool I prefer so it’s easy to try out different approaches and throw things out.

You can follow us on Twitter @jdvhouten and @wcools and look for #80daystartup

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