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Wireframe

Wireframe
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UX Wireframe, a UX mockup is not a mockup of a digital product. It is not a prototype either.

A wireframe is a skeleton of a website, web application, or mobile application. Their simplified, conceptual version.

Unlike a mockup (visual mockup), a wireframe contains only the most basic elements, determining:

For the record, a mockup is used to visualize a graphic layer, while a prototype allows you to test a product and get familiar with the way it works.

We write in more detail about the differences between wireframe, mockup, and prototype here.
 

Low-fidelity wireframe vs. high-fidelity wireframe

Low-fidelity Wireframe is created in grayscale, usually on a white sheet of paper. Drawings are made using basic geometric figures like rectangles, squares, circles, and placeholder symbols.

The wireframe is devoid of colors, icons, photos, and text (even in the form of standard “lorem ipsum”). High fidelity and accuracy of a design are neither desirable nor advisable.

Wireframing involves creating a general layout of elements (text, graphics, video, menus, buttons).

Did You Know...

By limiting ourselves to only the most general elements, we focus on the structure, functionalities, and method of operation. We think about the optimal use of space, not aesthetics, which, while important, does not determine usability and user experience.

Wireframe also allows you to predict and plan the paths that users will use. And most importantly, even at this early stage of work, we have the opportunity to improve experience and usability.

A high-fidelity wireframe is much more complex, detailed, refined, and similar to the final product's appearance. Realistic color schemes, text, and specified distance ratios between elements allow evaluating the aesthetic layer as well.

Its relevance to the content of a site, product, or industry. Also, its complementarity with the Design System (if the organization has one).

While low-fidelity models are created at an early stage of work, high-fidelity models are presented at a very advanced stage, prior to coding.

With their help, it is possible to conduct user testing and collect much more valuable feedback.

Wireframing – preparatory stage

Although wireframes give the impression of being created “on the fly,” their preparation must be preceded by an analysis of the brief and expectations.

Comprehensive functional guidelines for information architecture, interface type, and navigation path allow you to rank individual elements.

Determine their role, function, and importance in the structure of the entire website or web application.

By planning how they work and where they are located (e.g., home page, sub-pages), you will also be able to significantly speed up and rationalize the design and programming work.

Wireframes – Information Architecture

Wireframes' biggest advantage is its ability to improve information architecture, the importance of which increases with the size and complexity of the project.

Information architecture design is time-consuming. Mistakes made during the conceptual phase most often generate high costs (related to their repair) in later stages of the work, which is why it is so important to avoid them.

Planning information architecture requires thoughtful consideration of how content is presented so that its substance and placement best serve accessibility and unambiguity.

Wireframe also allows you to design doable actions and assess the level of clarity of the digital product structure.

Did You Know...

We can use this method to determine possible paths and methods of navigation. By considering the interface (option and selection buttons, types of menus, etc.) in the wireframe, we can think about the usability of the website from the very beginning of its development.

What are the advantages of UX Wireframe?

The preparation of wireframes allows you to estimate and plan:

  • time of project execution
  • cost
  • iterations (cyclically repeated revisions of the project).

Wireframe, prototype, and UX mockups of a website or application should be considered an important part of the documentation and organization of work.

The widespread use of wireframes (regardless of the project size) is due to its many advantages.

This simple tool allows you to:

  • document ideas, variants, versions
  • visualize structure
  • test usability
  • collect feedback – customer, project team, and users feedback
  • test crucial design assumptions (business and functional)
  • organize information about spacing, functions, and tools
  • choose the best way to present different types of information
  • catch design errors
  • test and compare solutions that are typical, standard, and ones that deviate from the habits and expectations of users
  • simulate paths and flow
  • communicate (inside and outside) concepts, ideas, and solutions.

How to make a mockup? UX Wireframe Design

The creation of a digital product wireframe model should be preceded by an understanding of the client's business needs and the needs of the target users.

The future website or application should be a product of these two expectations.

Thanks to the simplified form and focus on the “mechanics” of the tool, we can see how quickly and how effectively the customer and user will be able to achieve their objectives.

We can see the product's potential in its most obvious, crucial layer – usability.

Did You Know...

The product skeletons should be as simple as possible while being as communicative as possible. Their visual embellishment is unnecessary, but it should not be at the expense of the legibility of the drawing. Wireframe (website mockup) is used to convey general ideas, not details.

If the concepts are not understood immediately, in an obvious way, it usually means that they were poorly presented on a piece of paper.

For the record, concepts (e.g., website mockup) can be good or bad, but they cannot be incomprehensible.

Especially since the ease and speed of creating a Wireframe give the opportunity to multiply ideas, and to confront different solutions with the expectations of stakeholders.
 

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