Thinking of designing a website?, why not start planning with low fidelity wireframes. Let’s find out about wireframes and how it will help you effectively plan your website.
Planning is the foundation of success. With good planning, you will be able to get the job done fast and efficiently with less going back and forth to edit things. Which is why our web design company wants to introduce you to wireframing.
In this article we will talk about the definition of wireframes, its benefits, the elements of wireframes, and many more including free tools that you can use for wireframing.
- What are wireframes
- Benefits of wireframe
- Key elements in wireframes
- High vs Low fidelity wireframe
- When to use high-fidelity wireframes
- Free wireframing tools
- Final thoughts
What are wireframes
Wireframes are like a blueprint of websites. It is a two-dimensional outline of the page of the website or application. It is used to plan the user interface. Wireframes will show the layout of the web page, where each element and content will be placed, functionality, and user flow.
Wireframes are an overview map, so the design of each element will not be detailed. It will look like skeletons, using boxes to represent each element. Wireframes can be drawn on paper and made digitally. With less details, the web designer can draw out the wireframe on paper. But if they want to include more detail for each element, they may need to use some digital tools.
Wireframes are used in the beginning of the web design process since it helps paint the picture of what the page structure will look like. The wireframes will be created from the website goals, business requirements, and even user requirements. So, the wireframe will be built after the team has come up with the idea of the website, then use the wireframe to present what it will look like.
Benefits of wireframe
Wireframes help create mutual understanding for everyone in the team of what the website will look like. It also is a great helping tool to get the team working and deciding on layout, elements and the flow of the website as well.
Also, wireframes help reduce workload and time spending on designing and editing the website since it allows the team to agree on the design layout before the web designer and developer start creating and coding the website. Wireframes also are easy to make and very cheap, there are even free tools that you can use as well.
Key elements in wireframes
Wireframes consisted of three main components: information design, navigation design, and interface design.
Information design is the placement and presentation of information. It is to make sure that the information presented on the website is understandable and clear.
Navigation design is the navigation elements that make sure the users can travel on the website freely and effectively.
Interface design is the process of arranging and using elements on the interface to perfect the usability and efficiency of a website using buttons, text fields, and more.
High vs Low fidelity wireframe
How detailed the wireframes would be depends on the degree of detail you need, this is called the level of fidelity. In this article, we will talk about low fidelity wireframes and high fidelity wireframes.
Low fidelity wireframes
Low fidelity wireframes are like a sketch. it is not detailed at all, it will not use colors and images since it might distract the perception of the layout and structure of the website. Its purpose is to create a clear understanding of layout and functions of the website only.
Low fidelity wireframes allow the team to redesign and make changes quickly and easily. The elements on low fidelity wireframes are static, meaning that it is not interactive. It is usually presented as block shapes and placeholder texts. It is not stated what each element represents. It is simply an outline.
High fidelity wireframes
High fidelity wireframes are a detailed version of low fidelity. It will be clickable, allowing the tester or people in the team to play with the functions of each element. It will be close to the end products. Sometimes high fidelity wireframes can be used as prototypes though they serve different purposes.
With high fidelity wireframes the texts and graphics used are more refined. The designer will use the images, typography, colors to present the closest version of the wireframe to the real websites. When looking at the high fidelity wireframes, they will look and feel like real websites. The designer will use real texts and images that they plan to use in the end products.
When to use low-fidelity and high-fidelity wireframes
Low fidelity wireframes are used in the beginning stage of web design. It cannot be used in further processes where the team needs the accuracy of the images, texts, and colors used on the websites. It is only perfect for planning in early stages since there will be a lot of changes. Low fidelity wireframe allows the team to make changes about layouts and elements and see those changes in pictures.
On the other hand, high fidelity wireframes are used in later stages of web design and development. It mimics and predicts the end product or the real website. It is used when the team needs to confirm the usability and ensure great user experience. High fidelity allows people to play with functions of the websites and assess if they need any changes in order to be more user friendly and user focused.
Free wireframing tools
There are many wireframing tools available to use for free and paid, some offer free trials that you can use to get started with your project. We have selected two tools for you today, one for creating low fidelity and one for high fidelity wireframes.
Mockplus is a free wireframe tool suitable for creating low to medium fidelity wireframes. It can help you create and design low fidelity in an interactive manner, allowing users to get the idea of how the website will work. With its full features, you can work on the wireframes together with your team at the same time. The program also has tools and templates that will make the tasks easier as well.
You can use this tool for free for 15 days with full features, after that you will be using the free version with less features. It is available on both MacOS and Windows.
Justinmind allows you to create interactive wireframes for your websites for free. You can preview and test the prototypes with this free tool as well. Justinmind tool can be used to create wireframes for both desktop websites and mobile websites. You can customize the style, fonts, and even edit your images. With the ability to customize, add pictures, and run a prototype test, this tool will work well for high fidelity wireframe.
You can enjoy all premium features for 10-days free. After 10 days, you can continue using the free version forever. This free tool from Justinmind can be downloaded on both MacOS and Windows.
Apart from these two tools that are designed for wireframing, you can also use tools like Miro and Figma that allows you to work collaboratively with your friends to design and plan your projects as well.
Every good thing starts with good plans. Wireframe is another tool that will help you accomplish a great plan and effective communication about the project. Many benefits and how easy it is to make with free tools is the reason why you should consider wireframing as a part of your website design process.