Best practices for wireframing
Wireframing is a stage of the design phase where ideas are put on paper in their rough and unfinished form. Wireframes are usually made on scraps of paper or a whiteboard and exist to serve as an initial draft that is used to navigate until finish.
The central purpose of a wireframe is to have a rough idea of the project that also leaves plenty of room for collaboration, multiple iterations, as well as further ideation. Having wireframes is an extremely efficient way to go in the design process.
How long should wireframes take?InVision Studio
How long a wireframe takes is dependent entirely on the nature of the project and more importantly the individual who is fulfilling it, some people spend about 40% of their time on the wireframing process while others only 10%.
A good way to go about this process is to take a qualitative approach rather than a quantitative approach. So a wireframe can take as long as it takes to put down a rough version without delving into details of any sort (keep in mind that this is only an initial draft that will go through multiple revisions before it sees the light of day).
Best practices for wireframing
Here is a list of practices you can use for more effective wireframing
- Refrain from using colour: Colour is a very powerful tool, but it is a detail that is most likely going to change during the process multiple times, it is advantageous to refrain from using colour and focus on the visual design as well as the solution at hand instead.
- Maintain as much consistency as you can The purpose of a wireframe is to facilitate, which requires a certain sense of consistency in terms of spacing, delivery, as well as typography.
- Use content appropriately Make sure to add textual content for reference and convenience anywhere required to do so. This will make things easier during the revisions and reiterations.
- Try to include collaborators This process could be treated like a brainstorming session and could be advantageous when you bring in more heads to the table and with it more ideas, this also helps you cover more bases and think of things more widely.
- Communicate the functional elements with statistics Wireframing and prototyping are processes that go hand in hand. Key functionalities can be communicated through numbers and statistics. Based on what the client requires you can incorporate prototyping (as per preference, of course).
- Ensure expectations are clear Invest some time and tell the client what they can expect from the wireframing process, also find out what they expect from it. The clearer your communication is at this stage the better results you can procure.
- Eliminate unnecessary elements Try to indulge in relatively simple mediums that are not restrictive like pen and paper as opposed to softwares and programs that are not as natural and come with their own set of limitations.
- Cultivate a non attached mentality The purpose of a wireframe like stated before is to allow room for further ideation and growth, getting too attached in the initial stages is detrimental to the process of improvement and change and it must be avoided at all cost.
- Try to keep it as simple as possible The simpler the wireframe is the more actionable it is. It is highly advisable to keep your wireframe to its bare bones considering all the revisions it is bound to go through.
- Try and control the conversation Make sure to support your wireframes if and when things go too off track. A wireframe exists for the reason of being a navigational tool among other things.
Best tools for wireframing
Some tools enhance the wireframing process for a designer, here is a listicle of 10 tools that assist in wireframing (in no particular order of hierarchy).
- Adobe XD
- InVision Studio
- UX Pin
It goes without saying that there are other tools as well that streamline the process of wireframing, the aforementioned ones just happen to be the ones that are the most popular and convenient to us (according to popular opinion)
It will take some time and experimenting for you to land on the one that works best for you. Effective wireframing does come with a learning curve that gets better with time.
Advantages of using wireframes
Since we have spoken about wireframing, it only makes sense to further the case and illustrate some of the many advantages that come with wireframing.
- Wireframes are a good way to visually portray a site map
- Makes room for clarification at an early stage
- Draw focus on usability before anything else
- Also draw focus on and talk about scalability as well as ease of use
- Encourage iteration in the design process
- Save time in the long run and boost efficiency
On a concluding note, it goes without saying that wireframing is an extremely essential element of the design process