Wireframing on The Quintessential Microsoft Powerpoint

Powerpoint is more than just an exec eye-wash tool - it can be a great wireframing tool as well. (005)

Death by Powerpoint or Decks as the business execs would love to say, is not an exaggeration. So much so that your future is pretty much determined how those slides are perceived by the time constrained CXOs. However, I would, as usual, stick my neck out, and say that, if there is one tool that I am left to choose on my death bed, to take to the next dimension, Powerpoint might just be it. There is pretty much nothing you can’t do with it: 

  • Write Books, Or mind numbing requirements - Check

  • Image Edit - Check (The background removal is Kill-worthy)

  • Visuals - Check (Not D3, but good enough)

  • Number Gaming - Check (Embedded Excels)

  • Movie Making - Check (Slide show movies - I will take it)

and well the list goes on. 

Yup - this is a fan boy speaking for a tool that doesn’t seem to do anything wrong, so much so, MS Office is like the first tool I signed up for a subscription post the piracy to a mature adult transition(yes that exists).

As a product guy, who has worked with almost as many organisations, as big-bang Facebook acquisitions, one of the key questions and struggle has been in translating the requirements from various different places into tangible solutions. As the most celebrated product guys on LinkedIn would say, visuals speak more than words - which means, the most interesting document to engage all stakeholders, is not your requirements document, but your wireframes. Don’t believe me? Ask the millions who would rather see the movie than read the original book or the engineer next door who would want to see what they are building, before even thinking about it. Heck, just ask Postman(the beautifully made application for APIs that everybody just swears by, minting billions $$).

This brings up the key aspect of the challenge - how to make these wireframes? High-fidelity ones that can put a designer to shame or paper napkins based ones as movies would like to show? Whiteboards? In my experience, the answer lies, as usual, as a mix of all these. Which means, there are tools that map to all these and more. Some of the most widely used(not just by me I mean) include the following:

  • Balsamiq: When you sketching is worse than 3 year old kids and need to balance professionalism and look cool ($)

  • Axure: When teams have no idea whether they have product guys or business analysts or visual designers ($$)

  • Sketch: When you have a Mac and you want to show the world. Also, if you have UX in your title description ($)

  • Figma: When you are too cool for Sketch and want to rebel against the norm aka Sketch (Free + $)

  • Adobe XD: Windows and well no budget and yet want to look hip and cool (Free + $$)

  • Invision Studio: Beautiful, and now well, trying to be everything (Free)

  • Moqups, Proto, Marvel(not the comics): Young, trying to be doing that tools

  • Pencil: The open source aka free alternative

  • Sketch2Code: Naa, not just good enough, yet. Sorry Microsoft.

  • Powerpoint: Hey, got you here :)

By no means is this list exhaustive. In fact, trying to find a tool, is as exhaustive as it can be. And that is the main reason, why Powerpoint makes an appearance here. 

The goal of wireframes can vary based on your audience, but essentially is all about getting your users to see & feel what the solution to their problem will look like. These are not(and shouldn’t be) what the solution will look in the real world, but how it will kind of look like. Imagine the biology book vs real humans(ok - this analogy is courtesy of Netflix which believes that everything can be made attractive by beautiful, sexy thumbnails - you get the drift).

Powerpoint, for the flexibility it brings in, is practically everywhere. Or ok, you have Apple’s Keynote and Google’s Slides and you practically cover every device. And that makes that tool, my recommendation, for a beginner as well for anybody who wants to convey the idea and not waste time with layers, and layout and everything else that comes with most of the powerful tools.

Drag an icon from Flaticons, or within itself, hyperlink up using transparent boxes to slides, change colours using the Picture options and you will have a nice looking wireframe pretty quickly. 

Don’t take my word for it. How about downloading a ready made template for a mobile app, complete with icons, how-to notes for using different capabilities with links and transitions and I would venture to say that you will agree. Just use the button below to access and download the template. Happy wireframing.

Download Template