Wireframes Your Guide to Understanding And Creating Them
Wireframes are Essential to User Experience, Here’s A Brief Guide To Understanding And Creating Wireframes When Designing Your Website Structure
The word ‘wireframe’ is a native to the UI/UX domain.
The developers and designers residing in this particular ream are aware of it and use this fundamental tool as the basis of their designs.
For a novice, the term might resemble something like a frame made of wire. Well, that’s the rough idea that is actually correct. But beyond its basic definition, what are wireframes, and what’s their purpose?
What Are Wireframes?
To understand wireframe the easy way, think of a building’s infrastructure. It is made iron bars that give structure and support to the whole building. At each point of its construction, this framework guides and allocates the development of specific parts of the building and strengthen it for the ease of end-user.
Likewise, a wireframe is a 2D illustration of the interface of a web page. Its role is to focus on utilizing the space efficiently, prioritizing the content thoroughly, and make use of the functionalities available. Since these are the foundational elements of a website, they also help establish relationships between a website’s templates.
If you come across a wireframe, you’ll notice it lacks all the distracting elements, such as colors, content, and flashy buttons. Coming to its use, it gives the designer an upper-hand in understanding UX potential of a website before it enters the stage of design. For instance, if they have a women’s linen clothing website at hand, it won’t need any display of products or images and colors; there will only be grayscale frames.
Why Use A Wireframe?
Whether you’re going to create a one-page website or a hefty e-commerce website, a wireframe can help solve all the problems related to user-experience and design functionality. Here are some of the benefits you get when you create wireframes for your website.
- You save time and money by troubleshooting the usability and functionality issues at the start.
- It is also an inexpensive way to draw the foundation of your website.
- You can also connect the website’s information architecture to its visual design.
- The overall structure and features become clear and visible.
- The navigation appears more refined.
- Content development becomes more accessible and effective.
- It highlights the range of functions available, so to accomplish a particular purpose.
Creating Wireframes – Free Tools For Everyone
Sure, you can draw a rough sketch of your website wireframe to come up with an idea of how you want your overall website to look and feel like. Apart from personal uses, expert designers from one well recognized Dallas web design company use and recommend some advanced tools for added flexibility and testing; which they list below.
In comparison to paper, these tools also add to your convenience (and also save you from wasting paper bundles and ink). However, there isn’t just one, but a ton that beginners and professionals can use free of cost. Most of them have a premium option with real-time usability testing, but a beginner should start with the free ones.
Even in the free lane, you’ll come across numerous wireframe tools, but you can keep experimenting with as much as you can to find the one that suits you.
To save you the hassle, we’ve gathered a list of free, online wireframe tools.
As the name indicates, Pencil Project is a wireframe tool that supports drawings and GUI prototypes. This award-winning tool supports sketching and hand-drawn features. You can easily install it and create mockups in your favorite OS.
Another open-source wireframe tool, Frame Box offers the users the convenience to get started as soon as they enter the site. The tool is available online, where users can integrate a multitude of features in the sketch frame. As soon as you’re done, you get a link you can share with anyone and anywhere.
Having both free and paid options, Mockplus is one of the topper wireframing design platform bursting with possibilities. It offers interactive prototyping, painless collaboration, scalable design system, and much more.
If you’re bothered with clutter and too many features dangling in your progress, Wireframe.cc offers you a low-fidelity clutter-free environment. You can create shapes and use colors as per your choice. However, the basic version only allows single-page, public wireframes.
InVision is an app that lets you create rich and interactive prototypes while nailing the details. It takes team collaboration on the next-level by creating clickable mockup designs of your site. As you expand your experience with it, the app is a better choice for those scouring free yet quality options.
Tips To Remember When Creating Wireframes
A wireframe might seem easy to construct, but in reality, it’s the most time-consuming process, especially when you don’t have automated testing at this stage. Not everything you create will fit in exactly as you planned, and as you keep digging in, you’ll realize that the process is much effortful than you imagined.
Here are a few things to get you started and escape the pitfalls many beginners fall victim to.
1. Ditch The Aesthetics For Now
The goal of your wireframe is to create a skeletal framework for your website. It is essential to keep in mind where your primary navigation and content elements will appear. This is the basic framework where you don’t need many colors, images or fonts. The more you keep it simple, the better it will be for you to work with.
2. Do Your Research Before Your Begin Creating Your Wireframe
You might think that wireframe is the first process of your UX journey, but it’s not. You see, you have to research first who your audience is and how are the competitors performing in the industry. You need to dig out practices and user personas to create your wireframe and locating your elements.
3. Make A List Of Features
You can’t just go in and use every feature a tool is offering you. Wireframes are meant for enhancing usability, which includes making a list of features that you prioritize. You have to be clear on the characteristics your audience is going to interact with.
4. Look Out For Inspiration
If you’ve done your research and still have no idea where to start, the internet is brimming with inspiration. You can search for the wireframes of the popular websites in the industry or strip some of those to their wireframes to see what you’ve been missing.
5. Keep Testing
Probably, you can’t master making wireframes in one go, but you can score if you keep practicing and testing your wireframes to notice user interaction and their experience with it. You can check the wireframe by asking for an opinion or seeking expert advice.