Wireframes are a crucial part of any efficient website design process. However, most clients are confused about them. They think wireframing will be hard to understand and they'd rather fast forward to designs. In this article, we will shed more light on the purpose of wireframing, how to read them, why wireframes are required before designing, and why not using them can inflate the cost of the project.
Wireframes are simple, usually black and white layouts of pages. They are used to:
The role of a wireframe is to create a blueprint of your website. They are stripped of design cues to clearly communicate the site structure.
Here’s an example of a wireframe of a Contact Us page from one of our website projects.
Now that you know the purpose of wireframe and what it looks like, let’s discover the reasons wireframing is the foundation of web design.
We can implement every website feature in several ways. It’s not always easy to communicate the choice using words. Wireframes can showcase future design choices and explain the essence of certain concepts.
Many web agencies assume their descriptions of a column layout or a hero section are obvious to the client. Often they’re not. The mix of jargon and design flexibility can lead to a huge disappointment if we skip wireframing altogether.
Designing with no idea of feature choices inflates the budget. It’s hard to put a price on the creative process already, let alone if there is no foundation in the form of wireframes.
Iterating over complex designs is much more expensive than changing a simple, black and white wireframe. It also disturbs the priorities of a web designer, who now has to evaluate both design and feature choices. And then there’s client feedback, which almost always requires additional design iterations.
Abandoning wireframes turns an exciting and creative design process into an expensive chore.
Wireframes can be created on a whiteboard during a meeting or in advanced software. The latter opens up an opportunity to test the user journey at a very early stage.
Interactive wireframes include a prototype of navigation, which can be tested by both the UI designers and the client. This again ties into the cost-effectiveness of the project, allowing to identify navigation issues long before design or development starts.
Apart from a few conventions, wireframes aren’t as hard to read as you might think. As mentioned above, wireframes communicate the layout, features and usability aspects, such as user interface and user journey. And they’re more intuitive than you may think.
Here’s what you need to know about reading wireframes:
Wireframes should be a crucial phase of every website build. Communicating their purpose is the only challenge. With that out of the way, they are beneficial to both the client and the web agency.
At Nerd Cow, we value honesty and strive to support your business growth. If you think your website needs a redesign, we’ll evaluate all the options and proceed with the most profitable approach.
Originally published Sep 26, 2019 8:57:14 AM, updated October 23 2020.