A wireframe is the drawing or map of a website’s design and functionality. It is the skeleton of the site that describes the where and how of content and navigation. It is the first step of any website design process. Ultimately, the wireframe is the most efficient tool to ensure that your ideas or your client’s ideas work and that the site fulfills all requirements. A wireframe is drawn in diagram form, without the “look and feel” of a final design; this allows for a free and clear discussion of what goes where, to quickly understand the structure and functionality of the website.
Save Time, Save Money
Our web designers use wireframes in the early stages of developing new websites to help ourselves and our clients better understand how the actual website will work. By agreeing to and testing a wireframe before time and energy is spent on the design’s “look and feel”, you save time and money. Color, font type and size and icons will have, not only a visual impact, but also an emotional impact. It is easy to become distracted by colors or image sizes too soon when the important underlying structural information has not been agreed upon. Superficial design changes at this stage can add up to a waste of time and money, especially if elements that were changed for the purpose of design were ultimately removed from the website altogether because they were not able to support the website’s functionality requirements. The wireframe removes the back and forth over minor design corrections and allows all involved to determine what is the most appropriate information for the page. The wireframe thus prevents the client from making decisions about colors, fonts, and other design matters prior to agreeing with the structure and navigation of the website.
A wireframe allows you to really focus on what’s most important – how your user will engage with your site. Without the distractions of design elements, this diagram of the page layout allows you to clearly plan your user experience. Many people are so excited about having a medium to share their content and information, they forget about the practical aspect of their website. Understanding your target market and knowing what you want from your visitors will help you as you organize your website.
Think about the user’s ease of site exploration; the easier it is to move about the site, the less frustrating the user experience. Ultimately, the functionality of the site should support the overall marketing strategy – do you want to increase membership, sell featured items or allow users to publish their own unique content? Making these options easily available, clearly visible and above the fold, means that your website supports your marketing strategy and users understand clearly what you want from them.
Wireframes describe where content appears on web pages. This can additionally help you to manage your advertising, as overly aggressive site advertising can be a turn off to most users. With a wireframe, you can look at the site’s big picture and connect the dots before getting involved in color schemes or other graphic details concerning design.
It all comes down to knowing what elements you want on your web pages and how those elements interact. By agreeing to a basic plan for ‘what content is to appear where’ on the site, you can save time and money without needlessly focusing on design specific elements, such as color, font or superfluous graphics. Doing this first allows you to understand your user experience and solve any issues upfront that could later be more costly to fix. If you would like to learn more, the web designers at TheeDigital will be happy to talk to you. Just give us a call at 919-341-8901 for a free consultation.