Building a Marketplace: Benefits of Wireframing Before Development
Fake it till you make it. You are probably familiar with this expression, which means that if you want to get something you should act like it is already in the bag.
But what if we look at this from another angle? Imagine that you plan to create a two-sided marketplace, but have a vague idea about how your audience will perceive it.
In such a way, you can “fake” that you have already created it, show how navigation looks like, how the content and elements are placed and gather first feedbacks. This is when wireframing comes to help.
In this article, you will learn about the main benefits of using wireframes before developing a marketplace.
Ready to jump in?
Concept development. What it is and why it matters
Marketplaces are multi-sided platforms, that require well-thought-out business logic and intuitive user experience.
At Apiko, concept development is the first and essential stage in the software development process.
It serves as a pillar of your product. If you don’t take it seriously or omit important details, your project may falter on further stages.
Why does concept development matter?
During this stage, you gain insights into your target audience, their problems, and desires. After this, you build a roadmap for your project, create wireframes and prototypes, gather feedbacks, improve, and iterate until you ensure that this is exactly what your users need.
Without concept development, you risk creating a product that will not reach a market fit.
Usually, concept development consists of two iterations: business analysis and wireframes/prototypes creation. These two iterations are interconnected, so one is meaningless without the other one. An effective business analysis will help you to create detailed wireframes, analyze them, and gather first feedbacks.
So, first let's see what main goals of business analysis are.
- Find out product goals and requirements
The main aim of business analysis is to find the problem your product solves. Based on this, build the requirements for your project and its main functionality.
- Create value proposition
Value proposition is a unique angle of your project which makes you different from your competitors and recognizable between your audience. Value proposition should express benefits your customers get when using your products or services.
- Get insights into what your users expect to get from your application
Business analysis will help you to learn what your audience wants to achieve with the help of your product. This is actually what makes them spend time on it. Your aim is to ensure that you are on the same page with your customers and that your product will satisfy their needs. Learn what is the main aim of your users and how your product can help them achieve it.
The main takeaway from this concept development stage is a clear portrait of your target customers, their challenges and goals.
When you have all this in your mind, you can proceed to creating wireframes.
Wireframing before marketplace development. Benefits for business owners
Wireframes serve as a magic wand that turns your ideas and assumptions into real facts you can work with. Wireframes help you сonvey a concept of your project to your potential customers, change and improve it with minimum waste of time and costs. Here is what you can do with the help of wireframes:
- Define your product navigation
You can show your stakeholders and potential customers how navigation elements will be placed and discuss their usability. What is the benefit? You will learn if there are enough items in your navigation (or too many), what items you need to add, what buttons are less visible, and if it is clear for the user where to move next.
- Focus on analytical viewpoint of your product
What is great about wireframes is that users can entirely focus on your website layout and navigational elements, without being distracted with colors. It helps to see the product from analytical perspective and analyze its usability.
- Get insights about what features your customers find to be the most useful
Sometimes the products are stuffed with features, users have no need in. With the help of wireframes, you can see what functionality is the must-have and what can be omitted on this stage.
- Minimize rework, save time and money
It is much easier to redo and edit wireframes than make changes in already developed product. Wireframing stage will help you to minimize rework, validate and improve the product idea, and come to the development company with exact requirements.
- Study each component of your marketplace, its influence on user experience and interaction with other components
Wireframes give you a great chance to study each element of your website separately, play with it, change its position or size. Then, you can do the same with other elements and see how they all fit into the whole picture.
- Get feedbacks at an early stage
This is actually the salt of the wireframes. Instead of explaining your idea in words, you can show the ready sketches to your users/stakeholders and gather first feedbacks and reviews. Here are some of the questions you can ask:
- Is the registration process simple enough?
- Is the navigation convenient for you?
- What do you expect to get by clicking on this button?
- What fields do you find to be redundant?
- What do you expect to see on this page?
- What elements are confusing you?
- What interactive elements and fields would you like to add?
- Are the CTA buttons strong enough?
- What, in your opinion, are the key elements (pages) in the application?
- Are the filters convenient for you? What other filters would you like to see?
- Receive more accurate and detailed project estimation
With wireframes on hand, you will have clear requirements and specifications to ensure that you are on the same page with the development team.
Examples of wireframes and their impact on overall project success
Let’s start from the “Find Car” page.
When you show it to your customers, you may find out that they need more fields to find a right car.
The same goes with the filters.
You may learn that your users require more filtering and sorting options. You can also find out what your customers prefer more: drop-down fields, range filters, map or list view, etc.
Now let's see the structure of “Rent a car” page.
After showing the wireframes, you may find out that your users need to see more information about the car or that they also need a map with its location.
To wrap it up, wireframing benefits go far beyond just having a rough sketch of your website with its main elements.
Here are just some of the benefits you get when using wireframes:
- Define and improve your product navigation
- Analyze the analytical viewpoint of your product
- Get insights about the features most important for your users
- Minimize rework, save time and money
- Analyze each component of your product and its interaction with other elements
- Get first feedbacks
Wireframing is an efficient tool for gaining insights about your audience and discovering what their expectations are. Such approach will not only save your time and money but also help you jump into your customers minds and customize your product to their needs.