There are a whole host of tools available that allow you to create SharePoint 2010 wireframes. Most people use Visio 2010 or other web-based tools such as balsamic mockups. These tools are great for creating mockups as there have been a number of user contributions that make these more specific to SharePoint 2010.
My tool for quick and easy SharePoint 2010 specific mock ups is called Intranet Modeller. This tool is exquisitely targeted to SharePoint 2010, is free and has a number of other features which make it extremely cool. Its fully web based, free to create mock ups and can also generate some basic documentation on your model as well!
Creating your first wireframe
The Intranet factory website actually has a whole bunch of different tools but the one we will be concentrating on today is called the Intranet Modeler. Once you have signed up to your account simply navigate to the intranet model homepage and click on start intranet model.
Now you add sites to your model by choosing some pre-existing templates or blank sites.
If you click on the ‘View Wireframe’ link you can see your site and its page, its so super simple and powerful! It’s a bit of a strange interface and takes some getting used to but the results are well worth it.
For example here is my home page:
Yes it looks suspiciously like SP2010! The navigation links are clickable. Now you can also change the content on the page as well. The thing that I really like about Intranet Modeler is the many Web Parts that serve a specific business purpose that they have defined, it’s a great way to engage a client and generate some ideas:
There are many more options that Intranet Modeler offers such as changing page layouts, allowing images to be inserted into the model and changing navigation but I will leave you to discover that for yourself
Exporting the model
So now that you have your model done what is next? Well Intranet Modeler allows you to export your model as a Word Document!
So remember that Home Page above, all you have to do is click on ‘Reports’ on the Models screen and choose complete and you will get a word doc with your wireframes in it, complete with your annotations and sections to fill in any related details:
This makes me very happy since with my smaller clients I don’t have to waste their budget creating tables of contents and all that crap!
So a model is great since you can see it but what if you want to share it out with others?
Sharing your model
You can also share your model with other users as well so that they can click on various items and get a conceptual view of what your SharePoint site might look like.
Click on Model Properties and check enable sharing, specify a password and send the model out into the world!
There is plenty more to cover but this is just a sample of what is available. I really like the tool so give it a try and let me know what you think. Although it’s not perfect for smaller organizations it can be a real time saver and great for prototyping with users.