How Wireframing Improves the Web Design Process

The wireframing process speeds development by creating a “blueprint” for the web design process. Developers can find out what works and what doesn’t before they invest too much time in prototyping or coding. The process allows developers to see the connections between web pages, apps and other business software and applications in a format that’s easy to use to showcase to their clients and get their feedback before spending a ton of time in actual design mockups. Wireframing is fast, inexpensive and helps storyline business logic is a reviewable format.

What Are Wireframes

Wireframes provide a visualization of site architecture, page layout, or business workflow, and most developers start off with the sitemap to develop the first representation of a web or app wireframes. Wireframing improves web design by creating a flowchart of the development project, clarifying website features, analyzing usability and showing how easy or how hard it will be to build a particular feature or application.

Benefit of Wireframes

The benefit of wireframes is saving time and money during the design process and creating better apps and web pages from a design point-of-view. Both wireframes and prototypes are used to speed development regardless of a project’s size or complexity. The benefits of using wireframes include:

  • Wireframing encourages usability by focusing on interrelationships.
  • The process makes it easy to prioritize content by revealing space constraints and allowing designers to use whitespace as an inherent part of content.
  • Developers can spot flaws in logic and navigation more quickly using wireframes.
  • Development teams can use wireframes to explain their designs to customers.
  • It’s easier to make changes in wireframes than to scrap a functional prototype or mockup.
  • Wireframing improves team (internal and client) communications.
  • Wireframes enable easier testing of site structure and information architecture.
  • Wireframes can be converted into HTML prototypes or high fidelity mockups for more complex projects.
  • Simple wireframes can be built in just minutes.
  • Even simple websites and apps should start with wireframes to map the customer journey.

Wireframe Tools for Developers

Developers can build wireframes and prototypes using many tools. Nine of the best tools--according to Onextrapixel.com--include: [1]

1. Balsamiq - The tool is highly intuitive and makes users feel as if they are drawing. However, the image can be manipulated and appears much cleaner than drawings made by hand. Teams using Balsamiq can easily create new iterations during project meetings.

2. Marvel APP - This prototyping tool uses drag-and-drop technology, and it’s especially friendly to beginners.

3. UXPin - This tool offers powerful support to create interactive wireframes and prototypes.

4. Axure RP- This tool enables design teams and agencies to create mockups. The features include animating wireframes, providing math functions and managing dynamic content.

5. Invision - Similar to Marvel, this tool is better suited to more experienced designers and developers.

6. Mockplus - Designers can use this tool on their PCs without an internet connection.

7. OmniGraffle - This tool can handle complex wireframes such as mapping electrical systems and even tracing family trees.

8. iPlotz - This is an ideal tool for business owners and designers to create their own wireframes to show developers.

9. Frame Box - This tool is good for designing basic wireframes, and it’s free to use on a PC.

Tips for Wireframe Design

The biggest tips for wireframing efficiency focus on what developers shouldn’t do. Developers shouldn’t try to add too much detail because wireframes are just blueprints of the work to be done. Adding unnecessary details can create a complicated design that obscures the important connections that developers need to see. Best practices of wireframing include:

Don’t Add Colors and Design Specifics

  • Most experts recommend working in black-and-white and grayscale to stay in focus on layout, workflow and functionality. [2]

Avoid Too Much Detail

  • It’s easy to add details for clients, but keep the wireframes simple for the development team. That makes it easy to reuse parts of the wireframe in other pages. During wireframing, developers just want to finalize the details of structure, layout and function.

Use Wireframes to Explore Different Possibilities

  • Wireframing improves web design by stimulating designer creativity. Designers can create wireframes to study other functions and arrangements in a short time.

Take Time to Wireframe the Project

  • Although some designers and developers resent spending several days on wireframing an entire project, the wireframing process almost always saves time and money, as well as reducing risk. Developers can create the best possible user experience, which is priceless, well having your wireframes approved by the client may be the “priceless” part.

Wireframing and Structural Development

Today’s eCommerce companies face increasingly strong demands for new iterations of apps, web pages and content. Your platform needs to work seamlessly with software and business applications, so it’s important to choose a development team that will integrate your platform, automate self-service features, build proprietary apps and work with your IT staff. The best developers aggressively lead development by creating strong structural underpinnings for any project. Wireframing is the structural skeleton of your website, apps and web pages, so choose a team that uses wireframing to speed the process and reduce development costs.

 

References:

[1] Onextrapixel.com: The Importance Of Wireframes In Web Design And 9 Tools To Create Wireframes

https://onextrapixel.com/the-importance-of-wireframes-in-web-design-and-9-tools-to-create-wireframes/

[2] Tone.co.uk: 5 Key Reasons Why Wireframing is Important in Web Design

https://www.tone.co.uk/5-key-reasons-wireframing-important-web-design/

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