Thinking about designing a new website but don’t know where to start? A wireframe is a quick, simple, visual representation of what your website layout will look like and how it will function. Think of a wireframe like blueprints to a house. Like blueprints, wireframes will show you what pages/rooms will be where (the look), and tell you exactly where the CTA’s/doorways that lead to other pages/rooms will be (the function). More importantly, wireframes provide a team of designers, developers, and strategists with a solid foundation to ensure everyone is on the same page and nothing is being missed. So when it comes time to start building, your contractors, plumbers, and electricians know exactly what to do. Here are five reasons why you should begin your design process with wireframes:
Get down to the nitty-gritty with your wireframes. Focus on the most important parts of your website, like specifying what content will go where. Think about it. Why do people go to your site in the first place? Information. With wireframes, you can block out sections and label them accordingly so that you are thinking about what information your viewers need to see first on each page. Start with the basics, then bring more attention to these important sections with design later.
Wireframes are quick and easy to make. They mostly consist of limited colors, usually shades of grays, and simple shapes, like squares and circles, used to block out content. It is also much easier to move around shapes than it is to adjust a design that is already in place, so if you need to make changes to the structure of your site, there is little to no effort to do so.
Although the design of your website is important, most people are only on your site for the information or specific service that you can provide. When thinking about your website’s layout, make it as easy as possible for people to navigate. Don’t make the user work for it. Make your navigation clear. Place CTA’s (call to actions) in convenient locations. Use hierarchy in your headers and paragraphs. All of this can improve the usability of your site and call all be reflected in your wireframes.
If you are working with a client, show them wireframes in the initial meetings before you show them designs. This will give the client the chance to digest the structure of the website rather than be distracted by what they like or do not like about the design. Any changes to the structure made by the client at this point in the project will be much easier to make on your wireframes.
Once you have reviewed the wireframes internally or with your client and have made any necessary changes to the structure of your site, you can simply fill in the information. Change out blocks for images and content. Start customizing your wireframes by adding design elements like colors and fonts. It’s that easy! Because you started by focusing on what’s most important you can be sure your website not only looks good but is informative and easy to use.
Wireframes are an easy to use and easy to edit tool that allows you to start building your site with a solid foundation in place and set your website up for success from the get-go.
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