The early stages of project development are often filled with challenges. Wireframe tools allow you to overcome many of those challenges and set your project up for success. They help you create better designs, and they can be used as powerful facilitators of communication between you and your client. If you are not currently using wireframes in your design process, you are missing out on the many benefits they offer. Keep reading to discover a few of the main benefits of using wireframe tools.
What are Wireframes?
A wireframe is basically the skeleton of a project. Think of it as a blueprint for a building. It clearly defines how various elements will look in a final project. A wireframe clearly depicts page or screen layout, content placement, UI elements, and navigation theme. By nature, wireframes are very simplistic. They typically use basic shapes and neutral colors to communicate a lot of information with minimal distractions.
Wireframe tools allow you to create good mockups for virtually any project, and they provide a wide range of benefits.
Wireframing Saves You Time and Money
Using a wireframe tool allows you to visualize a concept and create a prototype before starting work on an actual project. Wireframes are powerful visual tools that allow you to get initial feedback from your client or users. They help you lay out the foundation for a project, and they make it easier to ensure that everyone is on the same page from start to finish. This can prevent scope creep and save you a lot of time and money.
Wireframes also save time because they are easy to modify. If you present one to a client or stakeholder and there are things that need to be changed, you can make those changes in just a few minutes. This is much more time-effective than rewriting a plan or, worse, having to redo a significant portion of a project upon completion.
Clarify Features of the Interface
When you meet with a client, they may not understand technical terms like “Google map integration,” “dynamic slideshow,” or “breadcrumb.” You can use your wireframe tool to lay these features out in a way that is easier to understand. A good wireframe also shows the client exactly how such features function, where they will appear, and how they are useful to website visitors.
Because they are simple in nature, wireframes push function and usability to the forefront of the planning process. By eliminating colors and images, they make it easier for everyone involved in the project to focus on things like feature placement, ease of use, conversion paths, and navigation placement.
Wireframes Facilitate Team Work
Wireframes are typically created by designers with help from developers and producers. This provides an opportunity for others to identify potential issues that someone else might miss. Because they make it easier to communicate with clients, they also encourage teamwork throughout everyone involved in the project throughout every phase of the process.
Starting with detailed wireframes gives you something tangible to show a client before you get started. This provides an opportunity to gain valuable feedback that you likely would not be able to obtain when presenting a text document or explaining the project verbally.
Make Content Development More Effective
When you are building a website, good content is a must. Whether you are writing solely for your human visitors or you are writing content that is optimized for search engines, your content needs to be appealing and readable. Big blocks of text, for example, are difficult to read and don’t do your website any favors in terms of SEO.
With a wireframe tool, you can lay out exactly where text will appear on your website. You can determine how to use headings, bulleted lists, etc. effectively to create content that is easy to read and aesthetically appealing. Your wireframe will also give you a clear picture of exactly where you need content. Providing this framework to your content writer will enable them to develop content that fits within the constraints and “works” with the rest of a page.
Identify Problems Early on in the Process
Running into a serious problem when you have already dedicated hours, weeks, or even months to a project is a huge issue. Wireframes can allow you to identify many types of problems and avoid unpleasant surprises later in the design and coding phases. This, of course, helps minimize the risk of falling short of the final product you promised to your client. It also provides an opportunity to address issues early on rather than having to deal with them later, which is often more difficult.
One area where this is especially helpful is navigation. A website wireframe, for example, allows users to test a new site to see how easy it is to navigate. They can see how easy or challenging it is to reach target pages, determine whether breadcrumbs are useful, and figure out whether the overall navigational scheme is user-friendly. Being able to test and sort out a website’s navigation early on is something that can save you a lot of future frustration.
Wireframing should be the first real step in any project. It is an effective means of turning abstract ideas into something tangible that everyone involved in the project can view and provide feedback on. It creates a strong foundation on which you can build to meet your clients’ needs.
When it comes to wireframe tools, the options are numerous. The best, however, are those that are intuitive and offer a wide range of features to help you create interactive wireframes and prototypes. With the right tools, you can create great wireframes that will wow clients and stakeholders and serve as a solid foundation for all sorts of projects.