Wireframing

This summer, we recommitted to wireframing websites before working on mockups or building prototypes. There were a few reasons we drifted away from wireframing, but one of the main reasons was lower costs. Effective wireframing takes time, and that means billable hours or an increase in the project estimate.

Why Wireframe?

The lack of wireframing started to show up during development with missing templates, or the designer’s intended functionality would not work as intended. For example, are events listed on the homepage, static elements, or simply the initial view of an events page?

Multiply this scenario across the site and a relatively simple project now that the potential for redesigned pages, extra development, and content won’t fit into the page template.

Our designs have gotten much stronger because the website wireframing maker has made us think through the entire user journey. Like Todd in RhoA says, “What Does This Do?”. Every element on the page must have a function, and that function has rules that apply to it.

If we have a slider, how many slides can it display? Does it support video? Can the content author change the interval between slides? These are questions that development can begin to answer without touching code.

Prototyping

Clickable wireframes add another level of realism for everyone involved since they can simulate a user flow and understand how complicated user actions will be.

Treating wireframes as a necessary deliverable means using content from a copy deck to ensure page titles, subheadings, and content blocks are human-readable. Thus, instead of saying service 1, 2, etc., on a card, we just use the client’s service offerings. We also determine the maximum number of characters various blocks accommodate, so we factor in line wrapping or cut the content mid-sentence.

Wireframing mockup tool has the advantage of being much easier to revise than either Adobe XD artboards, and definitely WordPress theme templates.

Now that we have demonstrated the value of high fidelity wireframing, everyone from the agency to the client is confident that the subsequent phases of the website design project will be easier to manage because so much thinking has been done early in the Process.

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