A website or an application cannot be made without going through several wireframing stages. It is usually the primary step in user interface or user experience design. It informs, guides, and outlines all the necessary features on each screen.
Creating a wireframe is critical if you’re planning to build a website. But, to make one, you must understand what wireframing is, its importance, and how to create one. Let’s dive in.
What is a Wireframe?
A wireframe is a blueprint of a website, app, software, or any other digital interface. It could also be a basic web page structure to show you how you place the elements or content. It’s the base of a digital product (website/app/software) and works like a guide for where and how to use the final copy, images, and several interactions. It’s typically a rough sketch made using pen and paper or on design software like Adobe XD and other best wireframe tools. You can also create a wireframe using Figma.
What is The Use of a Wireframe?
When you’re ideating or in the initial stages of designing a digital product, wireframe comes in handy. It helps you communicate your ideas and modify them accordingly before you finally start designing and developing a product. For instance, building a house without a blueprint never works out. So, before you give out resources to working on a project, you must refine your plan and figure out what the result would look like.
It is best to make a clean, minimal wireframe that is easy to adjust and modify. This helps you quickly share your ideas without worrying about complex elements, colors, or menus.
Why is a Wireframe Important?
A wireframe is quite essential when it comes to designing a product. Some of the reasons are:
1. Works as a Guide
Wireframing is a crucial step in the UX design process as it provides a straightforward direction for moving ahead with the design. You can consider it a communication tool, an opportunity to enunciate your creative ideas visually. Also, it lets you get the team on board before building any product. A wireframe also encourages innovation and reduces mistakes along the way. And since a wireframe isn’t the final design, it gives helpful information for further improvements.
2. Visual Hierarchy
While designing a digital product, thinking about the user flow is also necessary. This is where wireframing helps. It gives you time to think and manage each page's visual hierarchy, which is an influential design principle.
This establishes order and the visual priority among the different design elements on the screen. It usually involves using various design principles like balance, contrast, and scale to make specific elements stand out. Visual hierarchy establishes a simplified page layout, so the user doesn’t get overwhelmed with too much visual information.
3. Responsive Design
Planning visual flows is super essential for responsive designs. It allows the user experience to be seamless throughout various devices and platforms. Suppose someone may want to learn about a product they wish to purchase. They look it up on their mobile phone first and save it from looking at it later on the website on their desktop. Therefore, design elements must then adapt to this behavior and platform. Planning how this will work out is a significant part of the wireframing process.
4. Risk Reduction
Another importance of creating wireframes in Figma is that it works as a risk reduction. It provides a preview of the final solution and saves you valuable time. Instead of waiting for the final solution, you can discover errors early by trying out the wireframe and catching them sooner. A wireframe assures you throughout the ideation and usability testing phase. It gives you key insights to keep the team moving forward and inform if there is a need for more data.
How to Make a Wireframe?
Creating a wireframe using Figma or any other design software like Creately wireframe is relatively easy. You can follow the given steps to create a wireframe quickly. But before starting with one, you must know that developing a wireframe for each page is unnecessary. You must only focus on the key pages in your user flow.
Here are 6 critical steps to creating a wireframe:
Step 1- Collect Data
Before you start making a wireframe, it's crucial to have all the relevant data at hand. You must invest some time to understand the persona and their pain points. Without appropriate information and understanding of the persona, your team will create wireframes that don’t address a specific problem. Wireframes are helpful in assigning parameters that influence the final solution.
Step 2- Set The User Flow
Mapping out the user flows that lead to your goals is a crucial task. This step lets you organize the features and elements on a webpage while reducing possible errors. Setting a user flow is also beneficial for coordinating with the team members. It gives them the right direction to focus, invest time, and put effort on. This ensures that all the solutions you offer are relevant to the problem at hand.
Step 3- Decide The Features
At this step, you’ll have to decide what features to add to the page. Although there are many ways to arrange the elements and features on a page, your main aim should be to place them in a manner that works the best for the target audience. It should make the user experience easy and seamless.
Note that whatever you add to the design, you may have to modify or change it multiple times; this is where it gets challenging. However, implementing design principles while creating a wireframe makes the work less complex, reducing the guesswork.
Step 4- Create Wireframe
Next, you create the final layout. You can do this by hand drawing a sketch or using software like Creately wireframe. While hand drawing gives you the flexibility to make changes quickly wherever possible, using software enables you to create a detailed and precise prototype.
Since a wireframe is not the final layout, it communicates to the user that it’s still a work in progress. Moreover, it allows your team members to be prompt and honest while giving feedback. However, in both scenarios, the goal is the same - to keep the design simple. Keep the elements limited to boxes, lines, sample text, and grayscale images.
Step 5- User Testing
The next step is to create a prototype and implement user testing. Gather data to improve your next set of wireframes. Ask the following questions for a better user experience:
- Are your users easily able to navigate through your pages?
- Do they understand the features and interactions?
- Are they familiar with most of the features?
- Do they face difficulty using any features?
- Do they get stuck at any point?
- Do they get confused with the sequence of pages?
These questions will help inform what features to repeat. The layout will become more precise as you improve the design by adding repetitions down the line. Ultimately, this will become the final layout you can hand over to the developers.
Step 6- Create a Mock-Up
The last step is to create a mock-up, a visual developmental layout of the final website. This layout will no longer be a wireframe as it now includes images, color, and content of the final product.
What Are Some of The Best Wireframe Tools?
The best part about wireframing is that you can easily and quickly do it on paper with a pen. Many people also use spreadsheets, merging cells and creating boxes for low-fidelity wireframes. Often, designers also use visual design tools like Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop. However, none of this software is ideal for wireframing and has various limitations. Therefore, professional UX designers use wireframing tools to make the process convenient and efficient. Some of the most popular and best wireframe tools are Figma, Creately, and Adobe XD.
Having a visual guide to your website makes the process of developing it easier and faster. The main goal of creating a wireframe should be to present your content intuitively and naturally familiar to the users. This way, you can align your product goals with the user's needs. Simply by laying out some lines and curls in an organized manner!