What is a wireframe?
A wireframe, sometimes also known as a page schematic or screen blueprint, is an early-stage visual mockup of a product, website, feature, application or any other user-facing entity. They are used by user experience (UX) design or user interface (UI) design teams to capture the basic structure and interactions of a project.
Common components to include in a wireframe are: the basic page layout, behaviors, content, and most of the key product complexities. There may be a few versions of a wireframe before the design is final.
The advantages of creating wireframes
There are several main advantages to creating wireframes at an early project stage:
Collecting feedback. Wireframes are useful tools for soliciting early feedback in the design process from all relevant parties, or for conducting usability tests. Opening this dialogue early on allows designers to make any necessary adjustments before proceeding. Known as iteration, this round of editing ensures the project result stays closely aligned with stakeholder expectations.
Easy editing. Their blueprint form makes wireframes easy to alter. This eliminates the need to expend time and resources on a major redesign.
Unified project vision. Wireframes serve as a common reference point throughout the whole creation process. By clearly visualizing the flow of a product, all team members are aware of how each component of what they’re building will fit together.
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Types of wireframes
There are two types of wireframes that can be used in the design process:
Sketching: Many UX and interaction designers prefer to start the process by sketching basic wireframes with pen and paper. It’s a great way to explore ideas and layouts without putting too much emphasis on the details.
Wireframe software: There are many software options and web applications that UX teams can use to create wireframes. Wireframe software is built to cater to designing basic layouts and don’t focus on the pixel-perfect details. Some examples of wireframe software are Axure, Invision and Balsamiq.