As consumer power continues to rise, it is imperative to create a seamless user experience throughout your website. Wireframing is an aspect of user experience design that includes developing a skeletal framework of the website, and maps out content for functionality with the user journey in mind. By breaking the site down into it’s basic elements, designers are able to layout the skeletal roadmap of the overall website navigation and page structure before any visual elements are implemented. The user’s journey should be top-of-mind in creating the blueprint for website navigation ensuring top-notch, seamless usability. This will make desired information much easier to find, and ultimately drive business.
Often compared to a blueprint for a house, a wireframe outlines your site layout in a black and white, simple form. Avoiding the use of color, logos, fonts, content, and aesthetic elements, wireframes demonstrate the structure your site possesses or will possess. The simplicity of this design tool helps emphasize the site features and the size and placement of page elements, while also paying attention to navigation. Wireframing includes ranking page elements into a hierarchy of importance, and then seamlessly tying each element together.
Once the content, graphic design, and all other aesthetic elements are in place, it is hard to correct structural errors. Wireframing allows you to address layout issues in the beginning, and thus making them easy to point out and easy to fix. This process also benefits the client, as they can see the true layout of their site before the distractions of content. Wireframing is also crucial in responsive design. Incorporating the wireframes in the development of the website’s responsive design ensures the ability to structurally see the website on all devices, such as tablets and mobile phones.
Wireframing and UX design work hand-in-hand in ensuring the right information is available to the right user at the right time. While wireframing places your content into a ranking of importance according to the user journey, UX design uses this ranking to develop a cohesive flow to the site in order to be of value to the user. The two design tactics work together to combat consumer power by making user satisfaction a central component in the development process.
Breaking things down to its simplest form is always helpful in grasping the bigger picture. By being able to see the basic components of your website, the issues and errors become much more visible. Addressing problems with the layout before adding all the content and design saves time and effort in the long run. What do you think is the most important aspect of wireframing? Let us know in the comments!