25 Apr 2016 | By James

Topics: Wire-frames in a Web design

website development project typically starts with a wireframe design. A wireframe is a simple black and white outline showing the size and placement of website development A web page elements, features, conversion areas and navigation. It does not incorporate colour schemes, fonts, logos or any real design elements but merely focuses on the structure and functionality of the site.

A wireframe may be compared with the blueprint of a new home, where you can see structural details like plumbing, electrification etc. without finer details like interior design elements etc. It is the best method for developers to explain site features visually.

For example, all clients may not clearly understand technical terms like “product filtering”, “hero image” or “lightbox”. But when presented in the wireframe, even laymen can have a good understanding of how the finished site will look and function.

In the development process of a website, wireframes are important for the developers as well as the client. Following are the important aspects of wireframes.

Visually displays site architecture – A wireframe design will show all the pages of the website and their hierarchy. It is better to add actual text content in the wireframe instead of the usual “Lorem Ipsum” dummy text. This will help you plan proper distribution and responsive layout of text content.

Clarifies website features – Since wireframes have all the clickable elements like buttons, links etc., all features of the website can be demonstrated in it. There is no better way to demonstrate site navigation and such features of the site other than wireframes.

Highlights usability – As mentioned earlier, the usability and functionality of the site are highlighted in the wireframe design, rather than its graphical design, which is of comparatively low priority.

Makes the development process iterative – As the client has a good idea of what the finished site will look and function like, wireframing makes the development process gradually evolve starting from scratch. It helps not to overlook critical design problems which if identified in a later stage, will sometimes complicate the entire design. As observed oftentimes, websites developed without wireframing are likely to have too many last minute modifications.

Importance for Developers

Wireframing helps developers plan out the content and user experience first, which are more important than its visual design. Some developers jump right into a full-fledged design when the client is in a hurry to get the site up fast. But often, a website developed without wireframing gets harder to modify at later stages of the development process and in effect, takes more time to complete. It also helps detect potential design problems early and saves time in revisions. From the feedback of the wireframe design, developers can also get an idea about the client and his expectations, so that you can work in that direction from the initial phases of the project.

Importance for Clients

Wireframes are good for the client also, as they help clients to focus on more important factors like layout, content, functionality, etc. rather than on graphical design. A design proposal submitted in full colour will distract the client from these crucial aspects. They also help developers understand your tastes and preferences before the actual creative work begins, saving you time and money in revisions.

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