A wireframe is simply the initial visual guide that marks the beginning of the design phase.
A wireframe is created after the website architecture is determined and it is then followed by the creative design phase.
It is a structural level design serving the purpose of a blueprint.
With a wireframe, designers and developers can streamline the entire website development process as it serves the purpose of skeleton depicting the interface of a web page.
When it comes to good website design, it’s used for defining the services of a website at the structural level keeping the needs of the user in mind.
A wireframe is the layout of the content and functionality to be added on the webpage.
It is also used in the interaction design process and creating global and secondary navigation.
The team working on the wireframe also uses it as a demonstration of appearance and structural representation of functionalities to stakeholders for approvals.
However, sometimes designers tend to skip the important process of wireframing.
Assuming that the client cannot understand the wireframe, they simply jump into the design to save some time.
Perhaps they want to please the client by launching the website before deadlines and start working on some other project.
However, designing and developing the website without wireframe will be directionless and designers will have to incur the extra cost for taking corrective steps.
The troubles during the designing phase are slated to go beyond expectations if designers proceed without creating a wireframe.
Designers cannot simply cobble design, content, navigation and other elements together to make one final exceptional website design. After all, the wireframe is the foundation of the web design.
Here is why using wireframes in the web design process is very important:
Visual Display of Website Architecture
Sitemaps are usually very abstract, even sitemaps of smaller websites.
This very abstract nature of the sitemaps does not give any idea of the visual appearance and features of web pages.
Creating wireframe is the very first real concrete process of displaying website architecture naturally.
It is the wireframe that turns sitemap and flowcharts into something visually clear and understandable.
Clarification of Website Features
Most of the clients are not tech savvy and they cannot understand the technical terms used by designers such as Google map integration, light boxes, product filtering, captcha etc. Wireframing provides designers with a clear way to visually display all the project specific features and functionalities on every web page.
Designers can easily explain how a particular feature will work and where on the webpage that particular feature will be available.
Sometimes, there are some features that do not fit on a webpage. Designers can use the wireframe to make the client understand why that particular feature will not work on the given webpage.
It is important to keep the usability of the website to the forefront while designing and developing.
That’s what the wireframe of a website does.
Though not in detail, these black and white lines, boxes and other patterns highlight the usability while showcasing the layout of a webpage.
The wireframe encourages stakeholders to look at the website objectively.
It forces them to see features, navigation, conversion paths and other aspects of the website under development from the users’ point of view.
Apart from demonstrating the way features will work, wireframe also helps in identifying flaws in the website architecture.
These flaws might have a wreak havoc on the designing phase.
Developing With Future Updates in Mind
The size and the content of the website are expected to grow as the business grows.
This means the website will be regularly updated in the future.
This is a good sign for the business. The client is now selling 10 products belonging to two categories.
However, the client will be selling 50 products belonging to 5 categories.
The website must be designed and developed in a manner accommodate updates and the content should remain manageable.
Wireframe helps in identifying and defining how content updates will be taken care of in the future.
Help In Iterating Web Design Process
Combining layout, functionality, content and other elements in one single step makes everything so complicated that designers can’t entirely focus on one single aspect.
However, wireframe makes sure that every element is handled individually and only one at a time.
It is much easier to make changes according to the feedback from the client.
If wireframing is skipped, the cost of making changes in design mock-ups is very high and it is going to waste a lot of time.
Wireframing Saves Time
Skipping wireframe is not going to eliminate a step the web design process.
With a wireframe in place, designers can work on the design with a well-calculated approach. It endows designers and developers with a clear understanding of what and how they have to build. It makes it much easier to create content.
Most importantly, it keeps all stakeholders on the same page. Skipping wireframing does not make sense as it is the backbone of the web design.