How wireframing saves time and money on software projects

Why wireframing is important to your project

The best websites start with a strong foundation. That’s why when working with us on the development of a website or software application, one of the first things we do is create a basic wireframe. It allows you to get a clear view of what the solution will deliver once it’s completed, and it allows us to create it for you most efficiently and cost-effectively.

What is a wireframe? 

A wireframe is a simple, low-fidelity layout that serves three purposes:

  1. It shows the information that will be displayed on the page
  2. It gives an outline of the structure and layout of the page
  3. It delivers the overall direction and description of the user interface

Also sometimes referred to as a skeleton, outline or blueprint, the wireframe is a super simple, two-dimensional illustration that shows the spacing of elements on the page. It outlines how the content is prioritised, what functionalities are available, and how the users will interact with it.

The wireframe shows the proposed user journey clearly without colours, logos or anything fancy. Essentially, it’s like the blueprint of a home, where you can easily see the structural placement of your plumbing, electrical and other structural elements but without any interior design elements.

If you’re getting a house built, you naturally want the best builder you can find. You also want to ensure that the builder has the right set of tools and that the right processes are in place to get the job done on time and within budget. That goes for web development, too.

Why is it so effective?

Wireframing gives you an early idea of how the application will flow. It’s a document that shows the backbone of your future product, which allows you and our project team to:

  1. Test and refine the navigation
  2. See how content lays out on the page
  3. Review and refine the user interface design of interactive elements
  4. Evaluate the effectiveness of the layout against best practices
  5. Determine what’s required for development and programming

What steps do we take to create it?

As with everything we do here at Bravesight, the process starts with research. We get to know you, talk with you about your requirements, and discover what you want to achieve. Next, we research best practices and investigate what your competitors are doing. Most importantly, we dive deep into the wants and needs of your audience, the user.

The point of wireframing is to organise the content in a way that it best supports your users’ goals. That’s why we must have a clear understanding of who we are designing for, and what problem we are trying to solve. With all the insights we gather, we can create your customer personas or ideal customer profile (ICP). Once all that is watertight, we will start drafting, sketching and testing.

How wireframes can improve content

Wireframes make it clear to the designer and developer what the essential elements of your website are. This includes the functionality that needs to be developed, modules and templates that must be created, the placement of images and other visual elements, and the copy that needs to be written.

If you're planning on including three statements to introduce your product or service but the wireframe only shows one sentence, the developer may only create modules with enough space for one. That’s just an example of something that can be picked up early in the piece and it will prevent delays and rework down the line.

The wireframe will only show one or two generic fonts, but the hierarchy of information is made clear. You get to see the sizing and placement of all required content, and how it will be arranged into a composition that will engage site visitors and increase conversions.

If something is off in the wireframe, it can be easily corrected. That’s usually not the case further down in the design and development stage.

If the headlines look too small, we can make them larger. If the text blocks seem too squashed, we can give them some more space. When it all looks great, the copywriter can start writing the text with the number of characters outlined in the wireframe in mind, and the developer will be able to code the elements to make sure it all fits perfectly.

Increasing the fidelity

Low-fidelity wireframes are all about layout, navigation, and information architecture. Still quite rough around the edges, it’s the foundation of the product. Low-fidelity wireframes cover only the sheer basics without any distractions such as interactions, design elements or visuals. It’s the simple, no-fuss blueprint.

The main benefit of a lo-fi wireframe is that it makes ideas tangible without much risk. They show what works and what doesn’t, are easy to produce, and bring great clarity for the next steps in the decision making.

The designer will use this to build on. As they get more clarity on where they’re taking the product, they will increase the fidelity of the wireframe. Within this stage of the development process, we dive into the details and the blueprint gets its personal touch.

High-fidelity wireframes include more detailed elements, and in the case of a content-first design, it may already contain the actual visuals, headlines and text. This is also where we develop the well-thought-out navigation and shape the design using your complete corporate identity package: your brand colours, fonts, logo, etc.

Towards the end of this process, what you will see is the mockup which is totally dressed but still a static version of your future product. At this stage, we can filter out the last imperfections and sharpen up the finer details. When that’s been perfected and approved, we can confidently start building your website or application.

Want to know more?

Over the years, our experienced team has helped hundreds of business owners establish a clear direction with solid foundations, as helping our clients grow their business is our primary focus.

Book a coffee meeting with us so we can answer your questions, explain our process, and see how we can help you to the next level with direction, creative design and development. We’re here to support you every step of the way.

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