Let’s talk about website wireframes – what it is, what their purpose is, which components they consist of, types of wireframes, and, ultimately, how they can be created. Interested? Read on to see our take on the subject.
What is a wireframe?
So what is a website wireframe? If you are familiar with some of the graphic design terms, you could have probably heard that a wireframe is used by designers to create object sketches in 2D and 3D animation. However, that common wireframe and a website wireframe are two absolutely different things. What does a wireframe look like? It is very close both visually and by a purpose to a blueprint and are intended to help markup a future web-resource.
Define wireframe in web design
Let’s define wireframe in a little bit more detail. Web design wireframe is, basically, a blueprint of a website with a minimum of details, which serves as a foundation for a prototype, mockup, and a web design as a whole. In fact, wireframes help understand where each software component must be located and define the most optimal place for it. Thus, they only form the basic site markup, displaying main content containers, means of delivering info to users, and UI interaction scenarios. For a distinct image of how the future web design would look, developers must define clearly what exactly certain elements contain.
Now, let’s clarify the question ‘What is a wireframe diagram?’. It’s basically the same thing as a wireframe in the context of web design. The wireframe meaning is to form the grey-scale image of web page components on the initial stages of web development with the help of CSS, HTML, and PHP.
What are wireframes used for?
Web carcasses provide the consistent image of how the end product would look, but without going into details. They are the first step in the realization of requirements from the project documentation.
I.e. wireframes allow developers to formulate a clear vision of how much the product is reasonable from the perspective of UX (if its navigation menu format and location are accessible), marketing (perhaps, the CTA button should be moved to a better location), and the ultimate goal of a website (e.g. if it’s a site presenting the vet clinic services, contact data should be located in the most eye-striking place). Moreover, they provide the means to create a flexible in scaling design so that there’s no need to waste too much time and effort adding some corrections to the architecture.
Wireframes, mockups and prototypes
Considering all that we have already mentioned, let’s now figure out essentially – what are wireframes and mockups in a nutshell? And what is the difference between a wireframe, mockup, and prototype?
A wireframe carcass is the most primitive markup for a future web page, which allows defining locations for content containers as well as an informational structure, and forming a picture of the way a user would interact with all that through UI. They are created in black and white (colorless) and define all the integral elements of an end product.
Prototype is a fuller image of a website that allows thinking through the UI on the conception level, without the need to completely implement it. Colorful, detailed graphic elements are used in the development of a website prototype. One of the crucial goals of prototypes is demonstrating the performance of internal website mechanisms, which support the overall navigation.
As for mockup – it is the most precise image of a web design with a fully visualized content that demonstrates approximately both primary and secondary functions. Mockups are usually demonstrated to clients. Thus, wireframes and mockups are the first and the last stages of a web design preparation respectively.
Obviously, experienced, reasonably working developers never choose prototype vs wireframe vs mockup and work on all three stages.
Web development wireframe: web development tasks
We have already figured out that, basically, wireframes are a foundation for the further formation of a prototype and a template of a web page.
Wireframe site web development
One must have a clear vision of the end product when creating wireframes. Sketches of objects are usually created there, which make a product correspond to the documentation requirements.
Simple website wireframe
A minimal set of components to be included in the website carcass (wireframe) includes:
- Categories and structures (how data is sorted on the site?);
- Marking (how content is delivered to users?);
- Navigation (how users navigate a resource?);
- Search (how will user be able to find the required content?).
Web application wireframe
As for web application wireframes, as a rule, they are more complex than in the case of web-resources. In particular, several scenarios may be worked through (depending on the role of an end user) while the app functionality may involve certain hardware features of a device (which must be represented in the carcass).
Website wireframe size
The size of a wireframe depends directly on the ultimate goal of your website. For instance, if it’s a regular landing, the size will be limited by a page (on the other hand, there can be more slides to work through the demonstration of user behavior on the landing with maximum detail). If you are working on a multi-user web application, the carcass can involve tens and even hundreds of pages.
Types of wireframes
There are 4 main types of wireframes, each offering a more precise means to describe the vision of a future resource:
- Basic (the most primitive kind, the schemed black and white structure);
- Annotated (includes developer comments);
- User-flow (static wireframes consisting of several slides, each of which displays the logic of user actions on a website during the performance of target actions);
- Interactive (such wireframes feature interactive elements created with the special software).
The ultimate choice of a wireframe type depends on the project complexity (the higher its complexity, the more detailed the carcass should be).
Purpose of wireframes
The creation of wireframes significantly decreases time a web designer must spend working on a certain project. Wireframes allow for developers to get a picture of an end product, which FULLY CORRESPONDS with client requirements defined in the documentation during the initial stages of development.
If you haven’t created web carcasses before, take a look at some existing wireframe design examples to see how a working case looks:
Here are the most ingenious (in our opinion) ux wireframe examples as well as ui wireframe examples:
- An intuitive and accessible solution from Alex Dovhyi;
- A well-thought-out design from Martyna Królikowska – a real black sheep among contemporary simple wireframe examples;
- Non-trivial html wireframe example by Krisztina Szerova;
- Minimalistic example of wireframe web design by James Boross;
- Our favorite among the homepage wireframe examples – a solution by the team of web designers Smartdraw.
If we’re talking about application wireframe examples, take a look at good wireframe examples for mobile apps in this mockpluslist.
How to make a wireframe
Find out how to make a website wireframe in a nutshell below:
- Think about the goal of your future resource. Particularly, in order to create website wireframe, one must understand how a potential user would interact with the interface. For instance, if you aim for an extensively wide TA, the interface must be intuitive to the extent where users are required to make 1-3 clicks to perform a target action.
- Start with primitive visualization. Define the location and format of heading, web page body and its footer.
- Form an image of navigation elements. This stage requires to add to your wireframe input fields, menu, and buttons linked to other sections of your website.
- Add comments. A whole team of developers is usually working on the creation of wireframes and their further correction, so it would only be reasonable to clarify your ideas through text comments inside the wireframe.
If you have any questions as to how to create a website wireframe, ask everything you want to know in the comments.
Convert website to wireframe
You can take a simpler direction – take a readymade resource that you like and transform it into a template to further adapt the approximate structure to your requirements. Currently, numerous services online help to implement such a procedure fast and simple. The most popular are Wirify, Document Cyborg, Wireframe and Balsamiq.
If you prefer not to take part in the optimization of your web solution’s design, get experts to help you out with that.
When you are planning to create a website, the wireframe designing is a necessary early-stage component optimization procedure that allows saving developers’ time and effort. We excel in creating wireframes, mockups, and prototypes.Let’s work on your project together – our team will provide exactly what you need!