The Benefits of Using Wireframes In Web Design
Using wireframes and prototypes prior to development is a helpful step that can save you time and money.
Web Prototyping can save you time by avoiding the need to redo an improperly functioning website, and it will prevent the need to undo any damage to the brand that may have occurred as a result of bad user experiences. Redesigns to remedy such website issues can be expensive. By taking a few days to wireframe your designs and test the prototype, you will avoid that hassle, and keep your client happy.
You won’t need to reinvent the wheel with each wireframe diagram you make each page on a site tends to share some elements. Those elements are the must-have items which often cause user frustration if they are absent
A wireframe diagram shows how the webpage will be laid out. Different shapes are used to represent where on the page the content elements, functional elements, and navigational elements will be. The HTML coders will use these diagrams to “wire” each page of the site to attach content, connect links, etc.
The wireframes are also helpful to visual designers who use them to base their renderings, which show the element locations and their hierarchical importance, in a way that is free of distracting design treatments.
By using simple shapes you can focus on the information design first to ensure that it will meet user needs, then move on to incorporating pretty pictures. When redesigning an existing site, wireframes are abstracted from site screenshots, then the new content elements, functional elements, and navigational elements are sketched in.
Wireframe vs. Visual Design
Clients often want to see the visual design of the site early in the development process, but it’s important to resist the temptation to give in to this request.
Colors, fonts and logo styles can draw out emotional responses from the client (such as “I hate that color”) which will distract from the more important task of deciding on the information design for that page.
By using a wireframe diagram, the client won’t be distracted by the visuals everyone can focus on the important part at this point, the page layout. This way you can achieve the ideal balance and structure for each page of the site.
As you incorporate results from your usability tests, your wireframe diagrams will need to be changed, and therefore your information design will evolve. You’ll be able to create a more positive brand experience if you keep your information design flexible at this stage.
Since a wireframe is essentially a sketch of a page layout concept, you can render this sketch via computer with an illustration application, or you can draw it by hand on paper. If you prefer to use an app, there are several that will help you communicate your ideas to your client. Frame Box, InVision, Auxre RP, Mockplus, UXPin, OmniGraffle, iPlotz, Marvel APP, and Balsamiq are all good choices.
Regardless of what your design process is, mockups and prototypes should always play a major role in that process. It will save you time, save your client money, and save the end users from the frustration of a bad experience.