#12 Is Wireframing Really Necessary, Though?
Imagine building a house without a blueprint. No schematics. No technical specifications. No material requirements. No thanks.
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Is wireframing really necessary, though? Yes! Yes! and Yes!
Wireframes are a must for any design project. It is one of the most effective ways to plan a product for both functionality and visual understanding.
But what is a wireframe? A wireframe is a blueprint for your website or digital product that indicates where visual and UI components are located. It gathers your ideas and functional requirements to help you see the complete picture.
Similar to blueprints that builders use, designers use wireframes to help them keep track of complex designs and make the entire process run smoothly. Having a complete overview of a user flow is perhaps, one of the best benefits of wireframing.
If you want your product to run successfully, user flow is essential. When your app/ website becomes too difficult for the users to navigate, they are more likely to abandon your product.
They typically have a set of distinct features:
They don't look exactly like the end product
Lines, borders, and other geometric shapes you can think of.
Wireframes don't involve website features such as text, videos, animation, etc
Mostly a black-and-white image with occasional bright spots.
Imagine building a house without a blueprint. No schematics. No technical specifications. No material requirements. No structure stability documentation. No considerations about using the space. No diagrams of where the furniture will sit. I mean you can try but it may not turn out as you'd hoped. Think about the chance of your home breaking apart, water leaking, and… other problems that you really want to avoid.
So why would you design your product without laying the foundations of your product? (Don’t answer that).
Wireframes are the backbone of your product. And while I understand the temptation to jump straight into development without spending time prototyping, I also almost guarantee that this will be a wrong decision. I mean... think about Titanic.
The sinking of “The Unsinkable” is a classic story of how the tiniest error during the planning stage of any project can lead to a total disaster. 🧊🚢
Types of Wireframes
Low-fidelity wireframes are done with a focus on layout and high-level interactions. Basic shapes like squares, triangles, circles, and lines represent UI elements and content.
Medium-fidelity wireframes are the next iteration after low-fidelity wireframes are established. It allows you to use grayscale colors to emphasize the layout and particular elements with no need to choose a color palette or spend time on including real copy text.
High-fidelity wireframes are more detailed than their low-fi counterparts, but they are not concerned with final visual design, branding, or style**.** UI elements look realistic and might even include textures and shadows.
Which tools to choose?
Here are the five most useful tools to create wireframes:
Colour: Wireframes are used to provide a visual understanding of an early product either to stakeholders or test users. It is recommended that when you're working on them, you don't add colors that may draw the user's attention in the wrong way; the purpose of a wireframe is to communicate and evaluate visual hierarchy, not branding.
Content: Define the type and amount of content that you will include in the wireframes. Convey the requirements and ideas behind the wireframes, without falling into the trap of spending too much time on copywriting.
Annotations: Including annotations while working on wireframes is important because it helps you to give clients clear explanations of your design decisions.
Accessibility: Think about inclusivity — using components and an adequate content hierarchy for users who are color blind, older users, younger users, power users, etc.
Wireflows: An easy way of demonstrating the desired interaction and process that a user would follow while using a product.
Whether you are designing or redesigning your website or app, wireframing can help you focus on functionality and user experience before you focus on the visual aspects.
By showing wireframes in the context of a prototype, you'll also be able to loop in clients earlier in the process — giving stakeholders a chance to review your product's visual representation before you start on the creative phase.
If you feel that you're spending many resources on wireframing, have another think.
The cost and time savings you get from ensuring that you spot potential flaws in your site architecture early in the process and that your product has a clearly outlined user interface will make every investment more than worth it.
Want to learn more?
If you're interested in running this play to build better Wireframes, join designers from 40+ countries using UX Playbook. Get detailed step-by-step guides and templates to supercharge your UX process.
I hope you found this helpful.
See ya next week