Wireframing In Web Design Process
Wireframing is one of the important steps in the overall process of web design. So, what is wireframing and why is it important in any web design process. This article will explain it
What is Wire framing
On Wikipedia, website wireframe is defined as follows
A website wireframe, also known as a page schematic or screen blueprint, is a visual guide that represents the skeletal framework of a website.:166 Wireframes are created for the purpose of arranging elements to best accomplish a particular purpose. The purpose is usually being informed by a business objective and a creative idea. The wireframe depicts the page layout or arrangement of the website’s content, including interface elements and navigational systems, and how they work together.:131 The wireframe usually lacks typographic style, color, or graphics, since the main focus lies in functionality, behavior, and priority of content.:167 In other words, it focuses on what a screen does, not what it looks like.:168 Wireframes can be pencil drawings or sketches on a whiteboard, or they can be produced by means of a broad array of free or commercial software applications.
Or in simple terms
Wireframe is the skeleton layout of your website, and sets the direction for the design phase.
Some web development agencies will skip this process and head on to the actual design phase. They are of the opinion that it will save them time by focussing on the design phase. Skipping the wire framing may look like saving time in the whole development process, but in actuality it will cause more delays, especially when the clients are not happy with what they are seeing during the design phase.
Here are some of the reasons why wire framing process shall not be excluded in the whole web design process
Why Wireframing is important in web design
1. Wireframes will display the site architecture visually
Wireframing will start the first real concrete visual appearance for a the particular website. It will translate all the client’s requirements and needs into something real and tangible. As there won’t be any colours or images involved, it can be seen without any distractions. This step is crucial as it will ensures that all parties are understanding the same thing.
2. Wireframes will enable to clarify some of website features
With wireframing, clients will be able to see how some of the website features will look like without the distractions of the actual creative elements such as images and colours. Items such as “ Hero Images” , “ Call To Actions Buttons” , “ Light Boxes” and others can all be presented and tested and be seen by the clients. Wireframing will provide a clear communication to the client on how these features will function, where they will be on the specific page and how useful they might actually be.
Most important, it will easily give the client to decide as to whether this particular feature will be useful or not in meeting the site goal. Any changes can then be done at this stage rather than waiting for the completion of the design phase.
3. Wireframes focuses on User Experience (UX)
With wireframe, the website user can test their experience on the various functionality and see how it will impact on the overall user experience. Apart from showing the overall layout, the user will experience the navigation process, internal links and conversion path.
4. Wireframes will make the design process more interactive
Getting feedback from the client will be done in the earlier stage by having the wireframe process. Instead of getting it when the design/mock up of the website is done, by getting client’s early involvement, whatever comments or changes in the layouts can be easily change without much efforts. Skipping wireframes may cause delays in the whole website process and may also increase the costs due to making changes in full design mock-ups which must then be reworked, instead of just changing the wireframes.
5. Wireframes will actually save time on the entire project
Wireframing will saves time in the overall web design process in the following ways
- The designs will be more defined and accurate.
- All parties, client and web developer, will understands what they are creating.
- Eliminate any major changes in the overall layout at the later stage of the web development process.
Eventually, all parties, client and web developer are on the same page about what the website is supposed to do and how it is supposed to function.
The next time your web developer plans to skip the wireframe process, insist on one, as it make everyone happy. Basically, they will know what you want and you will get what you actually want.