I’ll assume you’ve validated your great idea with customer interviews. You’ve had some decent feedback and you’re ready to go.

What do you need now? A pen and a piece of paper. Just sketch your basic UI. Don’t overthink it. Keep it simple. Make sure every page has:

  • One clear major action you’d like the user to take
  • Some basic navigation to the main features
  • And maybe discovery navigation if you have something to discover. You probably don’t.

But  this post is not about information architecture, UI design or UX methodology.

Whatever you do at this point, it will have major flaws. Even if you have years of experience. I can’t explain why. That’s just the way it is.

But it doesn’t matter because your first UI sketch should have only one goal: to start a conversation with people who might be users / customers. A conversation about their problem around a piece of UI. It changes everything when people are is user mode. Listen again. One of the main issue designer, programmers or product people have at this point is that they’ve already bonded with their sketch. Instead of using it as a conversation starter, they think it’s about improving what they have.

But you have nothing and now is the best time to start designing your product from scratch all over again. Don’t be emotional. Just take it all in and go back to the drawing board. If that means 90% is going to the trash, who cares. It only cost you a few hours of work. A bad start and rapid programming of an “ok” design will cost you way more. And from there, every little step will bond you more with your design and will make it more difficult to start from scratch.

Your first sketch is not your UI. It’s not your product. It’s your visit card to meet people and listen to how they feel about the problem when looking at a product UI. Not how they feel about your UI. About their problem when they are in user mode.

Don’t code. Not yet.