A good wireframe can completely change the design process. You’ll be able to address key issues in the design and get a feel of how your project will be laid out and how things like navigation and page placement will feel. Here are some tips on designing the best wireframe you can for maximum results.
Wireframe – Start With A Sketch
A wireframe can be only a sketch, but for the sake of this article, we’re going to cover low and high fidelity wireframes. High fidelity is usually digital and looks a little better than hand-drawn wireframes, but both work equally well.
You can start with a sketch. It doesn’t have to be perfect, no one is looking for amazing artistic ability in the initial sketches. These simply help get the wheels turning in your mind and generate ideas on what certain aspects of the wireframe will look like.
You can sketch out landing pages, navigation bars, and other elements of the sites. Make as many sketches as you need to, but don’t forget to label and number them so you can keep track of which drawing belongs to what part of the project. It also makes it easier for team members to understand your sketches when they’re labeled.
Try using a grid system for your sketches to make everything symmetrical. Graphing paper works great for this, or simply use a ruler.
Don’t Use Color Or Fancy Fonts
As you’re sketching away at your wireframe, you may find that you’re imagining all kinds of colors, graphics, and other content. It’s important to remember that a wireframe doesn’t traditionally include colors or graphics, and only includes very basic fonts.
This is because you’re not worried about the design aspect so much as the functionality of the project. A wireframe helps map out important aspects of the site’s architecture and organization, rather than the color scheme.
Even if you’re using software to map out a wireframe, you shouldn’t include color quite yet. You may find that later on in the process you need to make a change to the original design, and the color you had in mind doesn’t fit any longer.
Focus On Page Hierarchy
Content should be arranged in order of importance in your wireframe to minimize complexity and keep the users focused on the important aspects of the site. Your website should read from left to right and down, as per traditional western reading techniques.
Keep your content aligned, consistent, and grouped by relevance to make navigation and searching simpler and ensure the user isn’t becoming overwhelmed by disorganization. Don’t forget to include some “white space” in your design either.
White space acts as a sort of buffer between content free zones and the meat of the site. You need to let your content breathe sometimes, so it’s important to remember to include this white space in your design to give the eyes a break.
Make Concepts Simple with Wireframe
Using clear and simple language is the first aspect of simple concepts. Overly complex words make the experience more intimidating and cause discomfort with users. Your call to action and any other relevant phrases should be clearly spelled out in simple terms.
Elements such as buttons should look like how they’ll perform. If you have a button that says “click here to signup for emails” the button should look like it can be clicked on. Utilizing graphics can give your buttons a more “clickable” look, but should be saved for the mockup or prototyping process.
Be careful with too much text in a wireframe, as it can become distracting and take away from the actual page design. Text should be kept to a minimum when it is necessary, such as with page titles or call to action. You can use dynamic wireframe tools to maximize your design and simplify concepts easily.
Your Navigation Should Make Sense
Having a good page flow is necessary for successful navigation. Your users’ next step should make sense when they’re navigating the site. For instance, it would make sense to navigate from the landing page to an email signup form.
Avoid dead ends in navigation. These can become frustrating for the user, and you may be forced to eliminate certain pages or initiate costly edits on them. Make sure you’re designing a site that is simple to navigate and makes senses to the user.
Always Get Feedback
Your team is part of the design process, as your clients should be as well. For the best wireframing experience, keep everyone involved and ask for feedback. You’ll find your designs are more streamlined when you listen to and enact feedback from clients and team members.
Another set of eyes is always helpful when searching for errors, as well. You already know what you want the design to look like, so sometimes you might skip right over an error simply because you know it wasn’t supposed to look that way.
Conclusion – wireframe
A wireframe is one of the most effective tools you can utilize as a designer. They’re simple roadmaps that help guide the flow of the project and provide insight on functionality and navigation before a mockup is ever created.
Using a wireframe will unite your team better, help keep your client updated, and streamline your overall design process. This can save you time, money, and energy, and ensure that your clients always come to you with new work. Creating returning customers is certainly worth the investment.