The Importance of Sketching out Your Software Brainchild

The Importance of Sketching Out Your Software Brainchild by Michael Bendit

{3:02 minutes to read} Helpful Techniques to Giving Structure to Your Software App Ideas

Designing software is a lot like writing a novel or painting a masterpiece. They all start with a blank page and an idea.

For me, sitting down to write a blog post is almost as daunting a task. Fortunately, over the years, I’ve learned some tried and true techniques for getting started. These same techniques are great for sketching out that brilliant idea you have for an internet business, website or mobile app.

Even the world’s greatest artists sketched out their ideas in notebooks before dipping their brush in paint. If Leonardo da Vinci had to draw a man on a grid in a circle to master the proportions of the human body, outlining our own software ideas on paper before starting to program can’t be such a bad idea.

Here are three ways to get started: 

1. Whoever created the bullet point list should have been awarded the Nobel Prize in simplicity. What could be easier than jotting down your ideas in a list of short phrases or sentences? Here is the bullet list I started with for this blog post:

•Da Vinci Man Sketch
•Who (users), What (data), How (functions)
•Mind mapping

Once the ideas are on paper (or better yet on the computer), it’s easy to reorder them into a sequence that makes more sense. You can then start filling in details under each bullet and before you know it, you’ll have a complete outline for your masterpiece.

2. For those who are more visually oriented, mind mapping is an incredibly effective tool for structuring your ideas with shapes, colors, keywords and image positioning. The fact that all the different visual cues are embedded in a well-designed mind map makes it a wonderful tool for remembering and communicating your ideas.

The example below from Paul Foreman is particularly instructive as a mind map on effective mind-mapping!

The Importance of Sketching Out Your Software Brainchild by Michael Bendit

3. When you have finished outlining or mind mapping your ideas, it’s time to start laying out the user interface, i.e. what your screens will look like, assuming you are building a software application like a website or mobile app. These layouts are commonly referred to as wireframes because they are composed of simple outlined boxes along with some text and notes showing the placement of the different visual elements.

The Importance of Sketching Out Your Software Brainchild by Michael Bendit

Creating wireframes is now such an integral part of software design, that it has become a verb—“wireframing.” You don’t have to be a graphic designer to create your own wireframes, but if you want to jump in with both feet, I recommend looking into some of the more popular wireframing tools like those listed on Creative Blog’s 20 Best Wireframe Tools.

No matter where you are in defining or refining your software, website or mobile app idea, it’s never too early to give me a call. I’d be happy to help you accelerate the process.

Michael Bendit


Michael Bendit
Managing Director
Software Development Resources Inc.
111 Eighth Avenue,
Suite 1500
New York, NY 10011