Just like a house needs a blueprint before you even begin building, a website, app or software experience needs digital wireframing. A wireframe is a low-fidelity “blueprint” detailing the foundation and the basic architecture of your site. Wireframes are not part of the design process of the website, but rather, part of the planning and strategy. They serve as a general guide for page design and are comprised of simple shapes, lines, boxes, copy and callouts (most of the time they are black and white).

Digital wireframing can be done in many different ways, from doing a simple line/box drawing on a white board to using wireframe tools and software like Adobe XD.

Before moving into design, wireframing will promote a deeper thinking about the site architecture, functionalities, user experience, content flow and page elements. Overall, here are seven reasons why digital wireframing is essential:

1. Visually maps out the site architecture

Taking the site map and turning the key pages or templates into wireframes will kick off the project and build the foundation. Wireframes ensure everyone is on the same page when it comes to the overall architecture of a website and seamlessly transition the strategy and structure of the site to the web designers.

2. Explores multiple layouts and page options

There are always multiple ways to accomplish any task. The same goes for website development. By exploring multiple low-fidelity website layouts and page options, you’ll ensure the best ideas and layouts rise to the top.

3. Clarifies website features before they are built

It’s important to have a website that not only looks good, but functions well too. Digital wireframing drives discussion about the scope and functionalities of website pages and is even more important in dealing with complex website pages. It’s beneficial, and more cost effective, to have functionality discussions before moving into design and development.

4. Highlights the user experience

A positive user experience is really important. How many times have you gotten to a website with a frustrating user experience and you’ve abandoned the site? Wireframing highlights the user experience and user flow by forcing website strategists to focus on the ease of use, conversion paths, call-to-action placements, content organization and more. Some tools allow strategists to go one step further and create interactive prototypes to truly put the user experience to the test.

5. Focuses on the content

Wireframes force us to pay more attention to the content of a website, rather than jumping right into jazzy design. What information will the website offer customers? What content formats will we use (video, blog posts, infographics, etc.)? What interactive elements will we use? How easy will it be to find what you are looking for and navigate around the site?

6. Determines website responsiveness

It’s easy to focus on the desktop design of a website, but the reality is many people use their phones, tablets and other devices to access websites on the go. Wireframes help determine what the website will look like in responsive design (i.e. on a tablet or cell phone). Different usability and design considerations come into play as screen sizes increase and decrease.

7. Saves time on the entire project

Digital wireframing helps work out the kinks from the beginning, thus saving time and money by avoiding costly design and functionality errors.

Need help will your website development? Contact the experts at Lessing-Flynn!


Originally published June 7, 2016