5 Hard-Thought Out Steps to Exquisite Wireframe Design

Maks, CTO - November 1, 2016
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Wireframes

Imagine you are on a job interview. There are ten more candidates behind your shoulders in the line and ten more in front of you. Who’ll get the job?

Or you can imagine yourself on a conference. Your start-up is fresh but promising. All you need is money. Investors can bring the cash to the table. Will you win their hearts and wallets? How?

In the first case the candidate who is capable of presenting himself in a superior manner will leave the HR office as an employed man.

In the second – the way you present your ideas is as vital as air.

In the end of the day, a clear concept that’s perfectly visualized in a manner that showcases all of your strengths is the key.

A wireframe does just that!

Notice that wireframe is not a simple schematic that illustrates the appearance of the home page. A wireframe should include navigational elements, UI elements, content samples, and more. The main goal of any wireframe is to identify the most glaring issues with the UI, highlight functionality, and define the behavior of various features. This is a general representation of how the product is intended work.

While creating a wireframe, we usually focus on key aspects of the project:

  • Making the project understandable for both the client and the team;
  • Illustrating the most important functions and UI elements;
  • Describing how the product displays different types of data;
  • Describing how core functions work and how the product behaves in different scenarios.

Having a good wireframe is the finest way to remove any misunderstandings that can occur between you and your client. At the same time, when the team knows how the product should look and what the integral parts of the project are, it is much easier to manage the development cycle. A wireframe allows you to set up proper goals for each sprint in scrum and forces the whole team to work towards the finish line as a cohesive unit.

Where can an enterprise find a good team of professionals that focuses on wireframe design in web development? Ukraine is your best shot! This country has numerous IT-specialists and the prices should please any enterprise. Your second best choice is North America, probably the best talent that you could buy for a small (sometimes big) fortune.

Whether you want to hire web developers in Ukraine or any other country, you should know about wireframe design and how it works. What are the most important steps of this process?

Step #1. Choosing a source of inspiration

Idea

Every project starts from an idea. Frequently, the best ideas are already up there in the market and you have to copy them. Over the years, the market has figured out the most important usability trends and many websites look awfully similar. The reason for this similarity is that enterprises want their users to feel comfortable when using their websites. Users usually choose the most convenient features and functionality to use, hence the websites have begun to share some distinct traits.

A typical layout usually has a horizontal navigational panel, drop-down menus, and many other commonly-used UI elements that have proved to dramatically improve UX. However, there are numerous possible variations of how the layout could look while inheriting such functionality. Properly laying out the wireframe can help in creating an eye-catching website that will efficiently utilize your corporate design elements, interesting navigational features, and content.

Choosing a good source of inspirations hard. Usually, you want to find a good model for the project. Simultaneously, we all understand the most interesting models attract the attention of the industry and spawn incalculable clones. Therefore, you need a good model that has some distinct features, but can be easily adjusted and turned into something completely unique.

A good developer constantly researches the market and has a good grasp of the most popular trends. Often, you can totally rely on your contractor and allow him to search for the best sources of inspiration.

This is a pivotal part of development. Based on chosen examples, the development team creates a wireframe and discusses it with the client. This allows the client to better understand how their project will potentially look. He just needs to look at the wireframe and compare it to the chosen model.

Step #2. The layout and its priorities

When you have a comprehensive wireframe mock-up, you need to set the priorities. What type of content has more impact? Should you use imagery? Text blocks? Corporate news? What will keep your users from leaving? These are the questions that you need to answer during this step.

The wireframe can be changed and the priorities of the development team should be defined clearly. This is the only way to ensure that the project will be developed in a timely manner. There are various ways to highlight critically important information. You can surely direct users’ attention in the right way. However, in order to do so, you need to set your priorities correctly.

The business analysts should be working closely with the marketers. The website should somehow highlight the information that is crucial for your business model and marketing methods. For example, focusing on corporate news is a good idea for enterprises that often introduce new products or augment their existing products.

There are simple yet efficient ways of highlighting various types of data:

  • Correctly building the hierarchy of content by utilizing different fonts and font sizes. The most important messages should be much bigger than others. The bigger the font size, the more important your information seems to the users.
  • Using various non-transparent color backgrounds is a good idea and can be easily demonstrated with the wireframe. This is what we actually call a “highlight”. By using solid color backgrounds, we can put the most important information in the spotlight.
  • Unorthodox content boxes and boxes with a different design can also signal the importance of the content inside. Wireframes perfectly illustrate how various content boxes might look in the final version of the product.

By defining the priorities, a client removes ambiguity and helps a development team correctly to build the content hierarchy.

Step #3. Supervising the project

Supervising project

This is a very important part of IT-outsourcing. During the development, the project may change numerous times and the wireframe may need revisions. At the same time, a client can check how the development is going and compare its current state to the wireframe plan. If there are critical deviations, they should be addressed immediately. Some changes have to be made, others should never make it to the final version of the product.

Let’s say that you decided to hire web developers in Ukraine. If you are a remote client living halfway around the world, chances are you won’t be able to communicate as frequently as you would like to. However, you can certainly check up on the project by comparing current iterations and website functionality to the wireframe that was created for you by your contractors. Oftentimes, you will have a comprehensive schematic of the website and access to the current iteration of the website temporarily hosted somewhere on the internet. Here’s a list of things any web developer should provide:

  • The whole suite of wireframe documents including technical documentation, descriptions, and imagery.
  • Access to the website in development.

With these two simple tools at your disposal, you can easily keep track of the development process. The ability to constantly control the development process is a great advantage of collaborating with a team of developers who employ wireframe design methods.

Step #4. Implementing third-party features

Many features should be carved in stone before the start of the development. However, when third-party options come into play, we have to reconsider our wireframe layouts. If you want to incorporate various payment methods, specific applications or other tools that may need fine-tuning, make sure you discuss it with the developers before they start creating the wireframe design mock-up.

If third-party tools have not been specified before the start of the development, be ready for multiple wireframe revisions.

Step #5. Comparing the product to the wireframe

When the product is ready to deploy, we use wireframe schematics to check if everything is accounted for and has been successfully implemented. The wireframe is a good orienteer for both the client and the developer. At the end of the collaboration, they can both compare the result to the schematic and shake hands. The client can’t ask for more features and the developer can’t lie about the scope of work done. The comparison should be made step-by-step and include separate exercising of various UI elements, navigational options, and content prioritization.

Conclusion

Wireframe design is the best method of planning, discussing, and supervising the development of the product. Today, wireframing is a pivotal part of web development. It is hard to imagine a web developer who doesn’t employ this simple yet efficient design method. Wireframing enables transparency and comprehensive communication between the parties involved in the development process.

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