Ready to create your website from scratch but you have no idea where to begin? Well, a great website begins with a great website wireframe design. If you’re already familiar with creating a website that is rooted in user experience and usability then perhaps you already know about wireframing. However, if you’re new to creating websites then this article can help you design your website on paper before you choose a template or web developer to help you create your site. In this article, we will define what a wireframe is and its function, what to consider when choosing a wireframing process, how to make your wireframe, and three key principles to making the best website wireframe. Let’s dive right in.
What is a website wireframe and why use one?
UX Designers use the practice of creating a website wireframe to allow them to plan the information and content hierarchy of their design for a website, app, or product. Wireframing focuses on how the end-user will process the information displayed on the site, based on the research carried out by the UX design team.
When designing a website, you need to consider where the information and content are going to go using diagrams in black and white.
This process should take place before writing any code or building the actual web page. Wireframing helps you understand how users will interact with your website’s interface, through using diagrams to position menus and buttons.
As wireframing is a diagram of your website without the addition of colors, text, or typeface choice it allows you to plan the layout of your website and its interactions. It’s used to help you flesh out your website on paper so you can get a feel for user experience and the usability of your website without distractions.
So, what to you need in your wireframe?
Various UX designers will tackle the task of creating a wireframe in different ways. Some will draw their wireframes by hand, while others use online tools and apps to do the work for them. Using online tools versus drawing by hand is usually influenced by the approach taken to get from wireframe to code. It depends greatly on the emphasis placed on visual design in a project.
Here are the number of ways various designers can carry out the process of website wireframing from design to implementation:
- Wireframe > Interactive Prototype > Visual > Design
- Sketch > Code
- A Sketch > Wireframe > Hi-Def Wireframe > Visual > Code
- Sketch > Wireframe > Visual > Code
If the visual design is considered not very important then sketch to code makes sense. However, if you have the time, resources, and high business value, then taking the time to create a high-definition website wireframe and go through the process of testing with an interactive prototype makes better sense.
The best tools to use for wireframe creation
There are tons of free tools online for creating wireframes and prototypes. You should consider experimenting with a variety of tools until you find one that works best for you. Remember, you can just use a pen and a sheet of paper to create your website wireframe. We’ve curated a shortlist of online tools that are particularly good if you want to try an online solution. All of the options below come with free trials so you can try them before you opt-in.
UXPin: The UXPin wireframe app comes with an array of functionalities, but the best one is how it can facilitate building responsive, clickable prototypes right in your browser. Pretty neat!
InVision: One of the perks of using InVision is you get feedback directly from your team and users via clickable mock-ups of your website’s design. This feature is completely free.
Wireframe.cc: With Wireframe.cc you can create your wireframes directly in your browser thanks to its powerful technology. Better yet, it works like an online version of a pen and paper, to design your wireframes.
3 Key principles to make your wireframe good
When considering what it takes to build your wireframe you should reflect on the following points:
1. Focus on clarity
Your wireframe needs to clearly answer what your site page is about and what the user can do or learn there or how it will satisfy their needs. Think of your wireframe as a visual aid of your website’s layout ensuring the important questions of your users are answered. Your wireframe should also ensure goals are achievable without the distraction of aesthetic elements.
2. Build confidence
Having a website that is easy to navigate for your users with clear calls-to-action will indeed solidify confidence in your brand, products, and services. You want to create a predictable website—having buttons or boxes in unexpected places on your page can diminish user confidence. Remember that this information can be organized during the wireframing stage. Keep navigational processes and buttons in intuitive and commonly used positions and your user confidence will be through the roof.
3. Simplicity is best
This of your wireframe is a way to keep your website from getting cluttered—it will keep things clean and simple. If you dump too much information, links, or copy can be distracting for users. The goal of your wireframe is to keep things easy to find on your website with a clean, responsive design. Keep the fluff to a zero for a high user experience.
The take away
Your wireframe should function as a visual guide to the framework and scaffolding of your website and how it should be navigated. Don’t worry about the aesthetics and the attractiveness of your website at this stage. Once you’ve decided the target audience, start laying out the information they will be searching for intuitively. Go a step further and make sure this info is familiar as well as easy to navigate. It will also guide your users to converting or help them to achieve their goals while interacting with your site. By presenting your information simplistically, you will align your site goal and the needs of your customers.
Get a modern pre-made template to build your website in a drag-and-drop interface. You can also get advanced tools to modify the code and tweak every element to suite your vision. Choose your easy site builder template and get hosting to launch you site today!