nt-logo-tagline-dark

A valuable tool for UX designers, effective wireframing can help tackle the first stages of any project, whether you are creating a new app, website, or anything else design related.

What is a Wireframe?

A wireframe is a design tool that maps out a new design’s main elements and navigation. It gives a good idea of a design’s functionality before considering visual elements like color schemes. 

You might think of wireframing as a method for visualizing your earliest project ideas. It doesn’t matter if you’re good at drawing; you can create wireframes online or on paper.

Drawing a wireframe is not about your artistic ability in either scenario. Instead, wireframes help you organize your project and decide which basic interactions you want to develop.

Tips for Effective Wireframing

1. Know your objective.

Without a clearly defined goal, your wireframes won’t bring the value you want them to. So ask yourself and your team, what do you want to achieve with this wireframe? And go from there.

2. Put it on paper first.

Although there are great design tools out there like Sketch or Adobe XD, jumping right into them could be a mistake. In the beginning, take out a pen and paper, start sketching out options, and evaluate the pros and cons of the different concepts. Using a paper or whiteboard allows your creativity to flourish as you can explore different solutions and opportunities. 

3. Use the right size canvas.

When it comes to wireframing, you don’t want to choose a canvas size different from what you are designing for. This will leave you with a layout that needs correction when you transition to a higher-fidelity prototyping tool. 

4. Use grids.

All of the elements on the layout should be interchangeable, adjustable, and easily scalable. A grid is a perfect solution for wireframing quickly while also providing a smooth transition to the prototype. A grid system will help you layout various elements.

5. Be consistent.

Every button, tab, and label on the screen should have a consistent design. You can make sure all your UI elements are consistent by having a library of reusable styles and symbols.

6. Think about flow.

The end goal of design is to create a seamless and enjoyable user experience. To achieve this, it’s important to think about design in terms of user interactions instead of individual screens.

Wireframes should always be created in terms of the experience you want your user to have. To design for flow, you should think about how a screen will work with other screens and ask questions like:

  • What is the most important element on this screen?
  • How are users supposed to interact with it?
  • What do they want or expect to see next?

7. Try to have content early in the process.

We have all probably seen “Lorem Ipsum,” the dummy text used by designers when there is no original copy yet. Aim to move away from this and use real content instead of any dummy placeholders. 

One good reason for this is that when you use real content, you are able to see if it fits your layout or not. In addition, using placeholder content doesn’t allow for valuable feedback during review sessions. You can’t really get a good opinion from someone on something they don’t know. 

Relevant content encourages thoughtful feedback. So, even if you don’t have content yet, write something simple but similar to the content you will end up using. 

8. Focus on functionality.

Although designers might find it tempting to spend time making everything pretty and perfect, it’s better to focus on functionality. You don’t want to accidentally spend too much time on the visual aspects and forget about the true purpose of wireframing, to express and validate ideas. Stay focused on functionality to create a solution-oriented wireframe.

9. Don’t get too attached.

Effective wireframing is about rapid ideation, and as a designer, you have to be willing to embrace change and adapt to new solutions. Emotional attachment to a specific wireframe or idea can not only limit creativity but also become an issue for the whole team. 

10. Ask for feedback.

Wireframes are about ideas and feedback. Therefore, it’s essential that you create a space that encourages collaborative conversations about designs and solutions. Get feedback as early as possible and continue to explore different ideas and opinions. 

Conclusion

Every functional website starts with wireframing. Take your designs to the next level and use these tips for more effective wireframing; your team and your clients will thank you! 

A global team of digerati with offices in Washington, D.C. and Southern California, we provide digital strategy, digital marketing, web design, and creative for brands you know and nonprofits you love.

Stay up to date with our insights by following us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.