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The Importance of Wireframes in the Design Process

We tend to underestimate the things that are familiar to us. It is also likely that we will underestimate things that, while new, seem very easy to handle. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the wireframes – often overlooked, but still an incredibly important part of the web development.

Let’s define, what is a wireframe? Simply put, it’s a skeleton of a web page. Also called a page schematic or screen blueprint.
Wireframes represent the interface of a page, the spacing of the elements, how content is prioritized, what features are available, and how users will interact with the site. Wireframes intentionally lack colors, graphics, or stylized fonts.

At first glance, creating a wireframe seems like a simple process. And here’s the main problem: we don’t pay enough attention to simple steps. But think about the process of building a new house. If you focus all your energy and time on the interior design, like the fabric for the sofas or color of the walls, rather than a plan for the structure of the house, do you think it will serve its purpose? Perhaps not.
What should be avoided in the wireframing process?

A variety of colors. Keep your colors to grays and whites.

Stylized graphics and images. Instead, you can use rectangles and squares as placeholders for banners and images.

Stylized fonts. Use generic fonts in order to prevent a user from distraction by typography style. The hierarchy of information can be shown by changing the size of the font, whether it is regular, italic, or bold.

Usage of lorem ipsum. At times, we could see that designers don’t add real content to the wireframes and instead use a lot of lorem ipsum. You may argue and say that the content isn’t available at the development stage. But in reality, it’s enough to use the draft content. Content greatly affects the design you create, and the draft content will help you make the right decisions and deliver the superior design.

Main Reasons to Use Wireframes

• Wireframes allow you to outline the functionality of pages, identify problems early, and save time on making changes later. In addition, it helps us avoid discrepancies in scope between the initial and the final estimates.

All designers have been in the position where they created a first-class design and then faced development constraints. Using wireframes allows us to engage developers in discussion at the early stages, enabling them to provide feedback and suggest changes before you start working on visual design.

• Wireframes are a perfect way to introduce clients and stakeholders to the structure of your design, without giving them the opportunity to be distracted by colors or images. If the goal of your meeting is to get your customers to think about what elements should be on the page and how those elements will function on the site, then extracting colors, pictures, and stylized pages makes it much easier.

Conduct user testing. According to the author of Lean Startup, Eric Ries, the sooner you conduct user testing, the better — no one wants to launch an application and find out that users don’t understand how to use it correctly. Wireframes can help designers get valuable feedback from potential users and don’t waste time on developing complex prototypes when they are not even needed.

Summing up, using wireframes early in the design process forces you and your clients to objectively assess ease of use, element placement, and helps you identify flaws early on. All these things lead to intuitive and perfectly functioning products.

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