Wireframe means the initial plan and is considered one of the most important stages of website and application design. By wireframing from the beginning, each element can be placed in its place and we can determine the final goal of the design. This method is used in large projects to make the project clear. Wireframe has different uses; It is used in the design or prototyping of mobile sites, computer programs, smartphone programs and other screen-based products that involve human-computer interaction. Keep in mind that repeatedly designing wireframes is a quick and effective way to prototype web pages as well.
What is the application of wireframe in UI/UX design?
In this part, we want to talk about the use of wireframes in the UI design and UX design process of a digital product. Of course, the use of wireframes goes beyond these cases, but in this section, we examine three common uses of wireframes.
wireframes help to save time and money
The most important point in the use of wireframes in the process of designing UI and UX is that wireframes are designed simply and at the lowest cost. a designer can design wireframes for different pages of a product using only a pen and paper and he or she can do this for many times. And change it many times, so the cost of changing wireframes is very, very low. You may not believe it, but designing one of them will only take a few minutes!
Wireframes are generally drawn with minimal visual details, and there is no mention of colors, images, etc., and symbols, lines. It does not create visual details, so designing them will be much easier than the final version of a product.
You can keep your ideas documented by designing a wireframe
One of the uses of wireframes for designers is to preserve design ideas. In many cases, the initial design ideas of a product come to the designer’s mind accidentally and suddenly. If the designer does not write down or implement these ideas, he will probably forget them. Since the design of wireframes is very simple, designers can easily design wireframes with the simplest tools and in the shortest possible time and avoid forgetting their ideas in the early stages of design. this will lead to a more detailed designs and Finally, based on wireframes, designs will be more accurate and we will have better quality products.
Suppose you have designed the home page of a website completely and in high detail with an interface and user experience design software such as XD or Figma, and you have spent hours on the design process. After presenting the design to the employer and reviewing it, the employer will reject it or ask you for a large amount of changes, and you as a designer will probably have to repeat all the design steps and actually spend the time to reach the design. You may think that you have lost. But on the other hand, if you get feedback from the employer in the very early stages with the design of wireframes – which, as mentioned before, are drawn very quickly and easily and with the lowest cost – you would eventually make all the changes in the wireframes and then After receiving the final feedback from the employer, you proceed to the next stages of the design.
It is suggested that instead of receiving feedback and customer feedback about the plans in the final stages, you should receive the necessary feedbacks in the early stages using wireframes, because it will be cheaper and easier to make any changes in the early stages.
Types of wireframes
Wireforms can be implemented both on paper and using software, but they are divided into three main categories based on the details of the work.
Wireframe with minimal details
The focus of this type of wireframe is on the performance of a page with the least details, and details have no place in this method; This wireframe is in black and white and with the most minimal wireframing mode.
Medium detailed wireframe
This level of wireframe is very similar to the first method in terms of detail and structure. Maybe the level of detail is a little higher than the original state and usually two colors are used. Texts from the page that are completely legible and recognizable, as well as parts that have more details, stand out at this level. Using images and notes for different sections to make the project more understandable is another thing that is common in medium detail wireframes.
Wireframe with full details
To implement the wireframe in full detail, we must use digital tools and computer software. The biggest feature of this type of wireframing is the use of color to better define the components and elements on the screen.
How to design and draw wireframes (Wireframing)
The process of designing and drawing wireframes is called wireframing. Wireframing is usually done after steps such as collecting information, analyzing data, determining the features and capabilities of the product, and specifying the pages in the product. After the product pages are partially determined based on the features available in the product, wireframes are designed.
The important thing about designing wireframes is that you can use two types of tools to design and create them:
1- Drawing wireframes using tools such as paper and pen
2- Wireframing and designing with a design software
Regardless of what tool you use to design wireframes, you should use the same principles to draw them, and in general, you should do the following steps to draw wireframes:
- Determine the purpose of the design.
- Who is the audience of your wireframes? Yourself, employer (stakeholders) or user?
- Based on the previous step, determine the quality of their details and determine what type you are going to design.
- Specify the range and border of the page for the wireframe design. For example, if you are going to design for mobile, first draw some rectangles that represent the pages you are designing.
- Design your desired wireframe using the elements used to design wireframes.
Note you know that the design elements of wireframes are symbols and only represent the real elements of the final design. For example, to display images in wireframes, you can use a rectangle whose diameters are drawn as a cross.
Wireframe design and software
Above, we introduced wireframe, its application, the advantages of using wireframe and its construction method, and we said that you can use both paper and application software to implement wireframe. So, in this section, we intend to introduce a list of useful and important software in the field of wireframe design and construction.
Adobe XD software
Adobe XD is the name of a professional tool from Adobe company that was created for UX and UI design. this software is the first option that we can go to for wireframe design. One of the advantages of this tool is that it is linked with other important Adobe software such as Photoshop and Illustrator, and you can easily exchange their files without exporting.
UX pin software
This tool is a suitable platform for UX design and construction, and one of the other features of this tool is wireframe construction and design.
This software can be considered as one of the main competitors of Adobe XD. At least among Mac OS users. Sketches competes with Photoshop due to its extensive features and is Open Source.
Mock Flow software
MacFlow is an offline tool. If you want to use this software online, it will provide you with more tools. Almost everything you need to make a wireframe is in this software. From boxes and buttons to icons and more.
Mason software is another popular and widely used tool among users for making wireframes. Meissen is completely visual and made only for designing and creating wireframes. With the help of this software, you can quickly design the overall structure of your site or application.
Balsamiq Mockups tool
If you don’t have enough time to learn complex software, this software is one of the relatively simple wireframe design tools. The working method of this tool is drag and drop, and you can take common website and mobile app elements from its library and drop them wherever you want in your design.
If you need to use animations in your design, we recommend to use Principle software. This software provides Mac users with a tool to go to the animations after designing the wireframe and apply the animations to the design without spending too much time and complicated work.
This tool belongs to one of the biggest companies in the world of technology. It has a very good library and you can use its connectors and symbols to specify the basic designs and connections. This tool is on the office suite and it is installed by itself.
Figma is also one of the other wireframe design and prototyping software, and like other software, it provides you with enough facilities for wireframing. By using this software, you can have the permission to work in a group on the project.