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Wireframing β Overview, Benefits, and Tools
The world is moving towards technology by leaps and bounds. For us, everything is available on the internet. Today we will be delving deeper to understand the backend of the millions of websites that we have come across and will come across in the future.
In this article, we will be discussing what wireframes are, what the various benefits of wireframing are, and what the different tools are through which one can do wireframing. Wireframing can be done with just pen and paper, but we are a tech-savvy generation, and we like our visual designs on a screen much better.
Wireframes are a two-dimensional description of how a web page would look on the internet. It is not an interactive dashboard but the blueprint of how the web page or dashboard would be, as in where the content would be, where would be the images and videos, contact links, and what all would be the crucial hyperlinks in between.
A wireframe is like a layout or the visual design of a particular site, which is further used to create the interactive and colorful web pages that we look at designed by the UI and UX designers and developers. It also helps us understand or show paths between different pages and an interactive element on the webpage.
While preparing a wireframe,
- Do not use colors
- Do not use Different font styles. Different font sizes to differentiate among the H1, H2, and the content of the body is appreciated, though.
- Not to use images.
The above-mentioned pointers are used in the final output of a webpage but not the layout.
In the layout, we generally have,
- Search Bar
- Headers or different font size
- Share button option
- Contact information or the "contact us" button
Wireframes can be prepared in two different ways.
Low-fidelity wireframes β These wireframes are easy to prepare and take less time as well. It does not include a detailed description of the body of content but just some filler words. It is more abstract in nature and uses block-off images for space management.
High-fidelity wireframes β They are more time-consuming because of the details conveyed in the layout. The real content is written wherever it is needed. It is detailed and relevant. It also explains the behavior of the interactive element on the web page.
The Benefits of Wireframing
It helps in mapping the abstract structure β Wireframing is the first concrete step in the creation of the website or web page. It helps us turn the abstract ideas that we have into a blueprint. It helps clear the doubts of the different parties involved and ensures that everyone is on the same road. It even makes the edit easier, as now the parties involved can easily pinpoint the area of dissatisfaction.
Clarify the features of the interface β not every stakeholder involved in the project will be a technical expert or a jargon knower. A high-fidelity wireframe helps the stakeholders understand the "google map integration function," "call directing function," "purchase now hyperlink," "product or service filtering" breadcrumbs and others. It also helps understand how the content would look and how all these features would be placed on a single webpage.
Focus on the core or the usability β By taking out the colors, images, and fonts from the wireframe, now the different parties can see the core of the design. The core might include the ease offered by the web page, the navigation system, the various hyperlinks, or the call-to-action buttons. In simple terms, now the focus can be on how easy the interface of the webpage is for the user.
Helps in understanding navigation β With the wireframe, the clients can understand if a particular website or a product is helpful in terms of navigation, dropdowns, and if the breadcrumbs are required. Otherwise, these fancy features could just become an obstacle in the user journey. An efficient user journey defines a happy user.
Promotes time efficiency as well as cost reduction β With the wireframe, the client can focus on one problem at a time, and it is much easier to change the layout than to remodify the end product again and again. Now there are no chances of getting the whole good-to-go functionality of the wireframe because of the look and feel of the website or product. The visual designers can focus on their work and the developers on theirs with a good wireframe in place, as the functionality and creative aspects of the product are not mixed.
Helps in content development β The content developers now exactly know where the content would be, the space that it has for that content, the font size that will be used, and the other pointers. This might seem like a small thing, but now the content creation of the website or product will be more SEO optimized as well as reader-friendly. Earlier, the content creator might just create large paragraphs of content and the designer must place them. This process makes sure that optimal content for each block in the wireframe is prepared by the content developer.
Different Wireframing Tools
Though wireframes can be prepared just by using a pen and paper as they are nothing but a layout of how the interface would look, for a neat and more professional look, people use different applications for preparing them. Listed below are some of the applications that are commonly used, their benefits, and their shortcomings, so that one can weigh the same and decide the optimal application for themselves.
|Helps in wireframing and prototyping at the same time.||One cannot design customized shapes using this application.|
|Many tutorials are available to understand the different features of the product and how it will be useful.||There is no direct way to convert your design into CSS (cascading style sheets).|
|Has different layouts, for example, for phones, desktops, tablets, and others.|
|It is simple to use.|
|It is speedy. You can have the basic design created in no time.||Walkthroughs or tutorials are limited, so it created a problem for first-time users.|
|It has no colors or other sophisticated features, so now you can focus on the core of the webpage.||The scope of customization is very limited.|
|Shortcuts are user-friendly.|
|A massive library of plugins and layouts is available at the userβs disposal.||It is a heavy tool and has to be run on a Mac desktop, limiting the use of Windows by the majority of users in developing countries.|
|It is easy to export code and recode as well.||The repeat grid function is not available.|
|Through collaborative accounts, one can design as well as collaborate in a single workspace with their team members.|
Wireframes help keep the focus on the users and their user journey. Wireframes are easy to create as they can be made with pen and paper, and most importantly, they are open for feedback from clients, visual designers, content creators, and other professionals involved. Wireframes also help in reducing costs and creating customer satisfaction, as customers are getting exactly what they want.
Wireframes should be created before creating the website or the product interface as it ensures that a highly functional, as well as a creative product or web page, will be created and not just another inefficient product.
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