Web Design: What is Wireframing?
Posted 19 June 2013
Web Design can be a confusing business. It’s technical, constantly changing and sometimes web designers really don’t help ourselves with our love for abbreviations. However, we’re working hard to demystify website design and make our industry accessible to our clients.
One such piece of terminology that you may have come across is “wireframing“. If your first reaction is that this sounds like the kind of thing that the modelling club get up to when they receive a delivery of old clothes hangars, you might not actually be as far from the truth as you think…
When web designers talk about wireframing, modelling is a very helpful term.
Given how much work happens between initial consultation and completion, and the high ownership that clients have over their website design, we want to give clients every opportunity to preview what the final site might look like. Web designers have a variety of ways in which clients can provide feedback and monitor progress.
As a website design project nears completion, this is relatively simple. This would typically involve the web designer sharing design work from photoshop, and ultimately developing the site in the build-up to it going live. However, at this stage in the project it is in nobody’s interest to have to rip things up and start again. It really is important to agree as much as possible in the early stages of the website’s development.
This is where wireframing is so helpful. A wireframe is essentially a model of the website design that can be presented to the client early on in the project. Wireframes tend to be stripped-down, black-and-white diagrams that demonstrate the layout and key components of web pages. They might only look like sketches, but their value is extraordinary.
The goal of a wireframe is not to show the visual elements of the design but to show how the website will function. It will inform how many columns your pages have. It will show where menus, links and navigation tools could be. It will help you work out where your social media feed might sit. A successful wireframe will actually increase the effectiveness of photography, graphic design etc because you’ll have carefully considered where these features should fit within the web design.
This is a vital tool in the website design process. An effective website is always both visually impressive and extremely well laid out. If it looks good but is too complex (or ineffective) for visitors to find the information that they want, then more work needs to be done. In an increasingly competitive online marketplace, it’s not enough to simply have the right components on a given page; it’s getting them in the right place that will turn pageviews into conversions.
If you’re looking for a highly experienced web design company for your next website design project, then we’d love to hear from you. You can contact us directly or request a callback.