The User Experience and User Interface are two of the most important factors determining a website and mobile app’s fate. No matter how good your website or app is, it won’t be able to achieve its full potential if the users are finding it difficult to use.

Preparing wireframes is a technique that helps the designers gain much-needed clarity on the website and mobile app’s design. The clarity gained through wireframes helps the competent UI/UX designersto remove the unnecessary design elements in the planning stage itself, saving loads of time and energy.

Due to lack of knowledge about building good Wireframes, many people often neglect its importance. Here is the detailed guide that will help you to get insights about the process of wireframing, types of wireframes, and some tips to improve your wireframes to develop high quality user friendly web and mobile app design.

So let’s get started!

Why invest in a Wireframe?

Wireframe is the graphical presentation of how the various aspects on the screens will be displayed and to provide a better understanding about the flow. It is a well-known fact that visual content is appreciated more by the audience. Humans are visual beings, and we are biased towards anything that “looks” beautiful.

You can exploit this visual bias of humanity to your benefit by building a website/app with a great design. The design of a website and app may go through many backs and forth changes before it is finalized. It becomes costly and cumbersome if your designers have to rebuild the design multiple times.

It is where the role of a wireframe proves useful. Consider Wireframe as a blueprint for your website/app. While it is not the final version of the design, it gives the designers and anyone looking at it, a bird’s eye view of the proposed design.

Wireframes save you the hassle of redesigning the website/app at later stages. You can show the wireframe to the client in the initial stage of development and incorporate their suggestions.

Once the client finalizes the wireframe, you can then speed ahead with designing the website/app. Thus, by choosing to invest early on in a wireframe, you can save time and energy and finish the project faster.

Now that we understand the importance of building wireframes, let us get some basic understanding of wireframes.

Types of Wireframes

The UI/UX designers take various approaches while building wireframes. The simplest method of building a wireframe is the old-school paper and pencil method. By sketching a wireframe from your mind to the paper, but this might lack the detailing required in many projects these days.

There are three types of wireframes and each one is an extension of the type that precedes it.  The type of wireframe opted for depends on the phase of the planning stage.

Low-fidelity (Low-FI) wireframes

Use a Properly Sized Canvas

These are the wireframes that’s the most simplest type. In a low-fi wireframe, is created literally in the most basic form by either using hands or some basic tools. A low-fidelity wireframe is believed to be as minimalistic as possible.

Mid-fidelity wireframes

mid fidelity wireframes

A mid-fidelity wireframe is a little more detailed as compared to the Low-Fi and steps closer to the final UI design. In this type of wireframe the layout and the interaction between the pages on how a user would proceed is much clearer.

High-fidelity (High-FI) wireframes

high-fidelity (high-fI) wireframes

High fidelity wireframes are the closest to what a final UI design will bear resemblance to. In this wireframe all the UI elements, fonts, colors, buttons, images, icons and background together form a perfect combination that can be turned into a working prototype.

E.G. A low-fi wireframe is ideal for showing the place of the elements on a page, the high-fi wireframes show you the user’s journey through the interaction of different elements within your app or website.

Wireframes for different screen sizes

While the wireframes will be the same, you will need to take either a top-down or a bottom-up approach about building the wireframes according to the screen’s size.

While building the wireframes, you should keep in mind the various devices like tablets, desktops, and smartphones that your users will be using.

It is important to think about the kind of device because it helps you set your priorities right. If designing for mobile wireframe, you need to decide about the cards and elements you will need to stack as users scroll the small screen. If designing for a desktop wireframe, you will have the luxury of space, allowing you to design accordingly.

One should always recommend the time to create wireframes for different device and screen sizes for user interaction. It will help you and your dedicated team to increase your targeted user experience (UX).

Tips to Build Wireframe

Now that you have a basic idea about wireframes let’s move on to seeing a few tips that will help you create exceptional and effective Wireframes.

Start by Focusing on the User Research

Who is the user?

Before starting any project, you must ask the following questions to yourself.

  • “Who is going to use this website/app?”
  • “What challenges is the user-facing?”

You could use various methods like focus groups, surveys, or online social media polls to find answers to the questions mentioned above. By understanding the type of person that is most likely to use the website/app, you will visualize all the obstacles and opportunities in advance.

What does the user want?

Once you are clear about who your user is, you should start thinking about the experience that a user expects from the website/app. A very important pitfall to avoid while thinking about user experience would be that of the “creativity trap.” Understand that the user is not on the website/app to see your creativity skills; he/she is here to solve a problem and solve it fast.

Hence it would help if you always asked these questions to yourself,

  • How is this design element going to help the user?
  • Which information is the most valuable one for the user?
  • Which tasks does the user wish to accomplish?

By constantly reviewing your design against the questions mentioned above, you will ensure that your dedicated UI/UX design team stays on the right track and focused to increase user experience.

Use a Properly-Sized Canvas

One of the most basic mistakes that designers make while designing a wireframe is selecting the wrong canvas. You will waste a lot of time making corrections to your design if you choose an improperly sized canvas from what you have designed for. A wrong canvas will lead to the wrong density of elements, ultimately leading to an incorrect visual hierarchy.

Grid-It Out

grid It out

Using a grid system, you will ensure that the layout elements are adjustable, scalable, and interchangeable. Thus, allowing you to build the wireframe fast.

Think in Terms of Flow, Not Individual Screens

UI/UX Designers often get too much trapped in the nitty-gritty of design and tend to ignore the user’s journey on the website/app. There are high chances that a small font or color change would go unnoticed by the user, but a disarrayed flow won’t. Think in terms of user interaction while designing, and you will ensure a seamless experience for the user.

Ask the following questions to yourself while designing every screen.

  • What is the most important design element on this screen?
  • How will the users interact with this design element?
  • What do they expect to see next?

Don’t Get Too Attached to Your Wires

Wireframes are meant to go through many changes, and emotional attachment to the wireframe can prove to be detrimental for the project. Be open to the changes and pivot often as an emotional attachment towards your ideas can limit your creativity and prove to be an obstacle in building a great design.

Make It Functional, Not Pretty

make It functional not pretty

Wireframing is all about rapid creativity and not about design details.

We understand that you are great designers, and anything that you build “must” look beautiful. But keep in mind that the purpose of wireframing is to convey the idea with minimal details. By spending too much time on making the wireframe “beautiful,” you will lose precious time, defeating the very purpose of building wireframe.

Things to keep in mind to build perfect Wireframe

Collaborate to create

Instead of limiting yourself with only the designer’s perspective, involve other team members, like content strategist or accessibility expert, into the design process to create an ideal wireframe. The collaboration of different team members will ensure that the wireframe benefits from your team’s diverse expertise.

Follow an Iterative process of updating

Based on the stakeholders it is best that you take an iterative process to develop your wireframe. In the process updating the wireframe based on regular brainstorming sessions you have with your team and the requirements to be taken care of with respect to the end user personas you take into consideration.

Consistency is the key

The human brain loves certainty, and to express certainty in design, you need to be consistent. Colors, fonts, spacing, and shapes should be consistent throughout the website/app.

Be clear upfront about the design elements that you will include and the ones you will omit from wireframes. It will create clarity amongst all the team members and clients. Also it will ensure that everyone is on the same page.

Preparing a legend or index of the shapes, fonts, colors, elements, and spacing will let everyone involved in the project know what-represents-what in the wireframes. It will avoid confusion later.

Respect deadlines

We know that as creative UI/UX designers, you would love not having a time limit. But, sadly, since the project needs to be developed on a tight timeline, wireframe designs also need to be completed within a deadline. One of the most crucial factors essential for building better designs is respecting deadlines, because it will help you to send progress reports to clients for necessary approvals of changes and updates.

Have strict deadlines for every stage in the design and make sure to follow these deadlines.

Weed out the inessential stuff

Do not think about multiple steps ahead while developing wireframes and focus only on one screen at a time. This will help you to be clear on the essential aspects that the screen needs to convey to the user. This way, you will be able to weed out the inessential stuff, making the user experience much better. Also, it will help designers and developers to seamlessly connect other pages and features in wireframe.

Color-less

Avoid using colors in wireframes and keep it clean and simple. While building the wireframes, we are not concerned about using color, but about depicting the user’s journey’s basic details in the clearest possible manner. By avoiding color, you will ensure that the process of building wireframes is clutter-free.

Even if you decide to use some colors to differentiate the necessary elements in wireframes for pages or application, i.e. menus, Call to Action buttons, prepare an index or legend depicting the use of color showing the purpose.

Lorem ipsum is not okay

While Lorem Ipsum, aka placeholder copy, is okay for the early stages of content planning, it should not enter the wireframing stage.

Including real content with the help of content strategist or writer, rather than placeholders will ensure that the design elements are properly aligned across screens and devices. Also, it will help to see page structure and user’s reading experience.

Backup everything

Take a backup of every single design change while wireframing. It will help you in-case your wireframes get deleted accidentally and allow you to learn from your old wireframes. By taking backups, you will ensure that you will be able to see the evolution of your project in the future.

No matter what methodology you use, whenever you make even a slightest of change or adjustment in wireframe, save a copy of it. This will help you and your team to learn about the journey of your product, service, user, client, and much more.

Feedbacks have your back

Step outside and ask for feedbacks wherever possible. Feedbacks allow you to see things from new perspectives, which is the gist of creativity for your app or website.

When your final wireframes is ready share it with client before starting the design and development on it as your client will provide the feedback keeping their business and its end user in mind.

Test your wireframes

You can apply the common testing methods like A/B testing, user testing, and observation to test your wireframes. Testing will help you build more functional wireframes and iron out the small mistakes that might have crept in. Testing your wireframes will provide you with the idea of how the user will use the app and website, and what will be the outcome of the design. You can also provide valuable insights to your client related to suggestions and updates in their requirement which they might have missed early.

Get customer approvals

Customer approvals are essential in many wireframes design and development. By sharing the various iterations of the wireframes with your clients, you will ensure that you are on the correct path. The approach also ensures that the project is finished in time.

The Final Touch

Always remember, the key to building a great wireframe is to keep it simple. The purpose of designing a wireframe is to convey the idea about the look and feel of the website/ app in a simple manner. A wireframe helps you in identifying the page elements, the user flow, and navigation upfront.

Wireframe not only helps in speeding up the development process, but it also aids in reducing the cost of developing a website/app.

Take the help of best mobile app development companies who will help you build that perfect wireframe, which will act as a predecessor to great UI/UX design.