Web Design

How Wireframes Help Build Websites

It’s time to get excited about wireframing. If your website is like your dream house, wireframes are the blueprints for it. Every step of the design process is key, but the blueprints really set the stage for the whole project. In the wonderful world of web design, there has been much debate over whether or not wireframing is worth it for the designer. We are here to tell you why it totally IS!

So what exactly is a wireframe?

Wireframes are sample layouts showing placement of content, media, and other elements.  They’re mostly pretty basic, though they can range from hand-drawn to fully-functional and interactive. Despite differences in functionality or appearance, they have a common goal – figuring out general appearance before spending the time to build it. A wireframe allows you to play around with the layout until you are totally satisfied. It can also reveal flaws in navigation, or a need to adjust content.

In short, wireframes save you time and money when done properly.

Find your frame.

There’s endless approaches to creating the perfect blueprint for your website. Most people start with a sketch of what they would like their page to look like, where things should go, and even samples of content that might be included. Sometimes just getting it on paper gives you the momentum you need.

Wireframes SampleThe most common type of wireframe, low-fidelity wireframes, are a go-to for web designers for a reason. They are digital, fast, easy to build, and easy to markup and share. They can come in the form of a live link, PDF, or standard image formats. They’re two dimensional, and typically don’t include any fancy fonts or formatting. Designers use placeholder images and text to keep the focus on layout and functionality. Is there a clear organization of information? Does the navigation make sense? That’s what these low-fidelity wireframes intend to find out.

High-fidelity wireframes dive into more detail. Once you’ve understood the big picture and have established the foundation, it might be a good idea to determine the specifics of how your site will look and behave. These hi-fi wireframes might include dimensions, complex navigation structure, button behavior, link appearance, and much more. For bigger, more complicated sites, these wireframes are probably your best bet. They can prevent a lot of wasted time during the actual build out of your site, since they’ve provided an exact blueprint to follow.

Low-fi or high-fi? Here’s a few really cool examples of wireframes put together by some talented designers.

Wireframe tech for all

There’s a lot of resources out there to help you build whatever style of wireframe you wish. And of course, there’s always pen and paper to start. We’ve had great success with our personal favorite, Adobe XD. For a web-based option, there’s Wireframe CC or Lucidchart. If you have Adobe Creative Cloud, you can even use Illustrator or InDesign. And, if you didn’t already know, you can always reach out to us for some help with this stage of the web design process.

The Verdict?

Wireframes save time and money when they’re done right. They set up a plan that dictates the design process, and helps web designers meet expectations. Think of them like the blueprint to your dream house. You can decorate once you start moving in.

Questions about how we approach the web design process? Email us.

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