Why Building a Website Wireframe is Important
When you open up your favorite website, what do you see? More likely than not, you’ll see colors, their logo, words describing what they do, and different sections with different purposes. You’re aware that it took time for that business to design, build, and create their website, and you want your website to look just as good and be just as functional as theirs. So, where do you start? A website wireframe is the first place to start when you’re building your website.
What is a website wireframe?
Before a bathroom is built, an architect puts together a blueprint of the bathroom. They plan out where the toilet, sink, and shower will be, the sizes of all of them, etc. Of course, this is before you pick out the color of the paint, the wallpaper, and the design of the bathroom. Building a website is exactly like that. You must plan out the website and all of its elements before you start to design and create it.
A website wireframe is the blueprint of your website, and it looks like a skeleton of your page. Typically, a wireframe is a black and white layout of all of the elements of your soon-to-be website without any design elements like branding, colors, logos, and copy.
Here are some of the things that website wireframes may include:
- Priority of content
Why is building a website wireframe important?
Now you know what a website wireframe is. You may be thinking, “Okay…I get it, but why do I need to do that? I already know what I want in my website, I don’t need to waste time planning it out.” That’s where you’re wrong.
#1: Website Wireframes Save Time
Chances are, you’re not going to get your website perfect the first time — and that’s perfectly okay! Building a website is a lot of work, and that’s why you should take the time at the beginning to plan its functionality before getting started on the design aspect. Website wireframes are inclusive of functionality (i.e. what the website will do), user experience (i.e. how the user will navigate the site), and prioritization (i.e. what information is most important and why).
These are essential aspects that will make or break your website depending on how they are executed. You will not get it right the first time, and it’s way easier to change a website wireframe than it is to actually rebuild a whole website because you made a mistake. Our advice? Build the wireframe first so you can catch errors and plan the site to the best of your ability. This will save you time later, we promise.
#2: Website Wireframes are Useful for the Whole Team
As you probably know, building a website requires a lot of effort from a lot of different people. You need someone to do the design, someone to build it, someone to write the copy, someone to create the graphics, and someone to lead the strategy — at the least. If you’re a bigger company, you may even a team of people who work on just one of these aspects (i.e. a UX team or a design team).
Website wireframes help everybody on the team to plan and understand the website better. You may be thinking, “Copy doesn’t come until after the wireframe is finished, why would a copywriter need the wireframe?” True. BUT, wireframes allow you to prioritize content, which will help the copywriter understand what is most important and do their job when the time comes. It may not be apparent at first, but each team member benefits from a website wireframe, therefore making your end result way better.
#3: Website Wireframes Allow for Feedback and Collaboration
Feedback and collaboration are essential to doing any job well, including building a website. When you start with a wireframe, you have to get feedback from other team members, which also forces you to collaborate.
Even more, if you’re building a website for a client, a wireframe is the first place where you can check with them to ensure that the website will function the way they imagined. This will allow them to be involved in the process and get the results they want, as well as save time for you in the future by making revisions now instead of later.
#4: Wireframes Help the Client
If you’re building a website for a client, they may not even know what a wireframe is or why it’s important. It’s your job to inform them about the benefits of a wireframe (this blog can help!).
For clients specifically, wireframes are helpful in allowing them to see all of the possibilities of their site. Design aspects are easier to show than to explain, and a wireframe can serve that purpose for you. On the other hand, some clients may have grand ideas of what their website should include, but in reality, their ideas may not be the best. Instead of outwardly denying them, you can use a wireframe to show them what’s realistic, what’s not, and why some of their proposed elements won’t work.
TL;DR: Wireframes are going to save you a ton of time with the client. Instead of building a non-functional, too crowded, or too bare website then iterating, start with the wireframe. Use that to review with the client and make changes accordingly before spending hours building a website they don’t want or one that doesn’t work.
#5: Website Wireframes are Essential for Designers
Whether you have one designer or a whole team, a website wireframe is a necessary stepping stone to designing the actual site. Designers have a lot of things to consider when building a website. From user experience to branding, design teams work with other team members to ensure that the product makes customers feel the way it is intended to.
There are a lot of elements that go into a website, and designers need to consider each and every one of them to ensure they are adding to the functionality and user experience. It is much easier and quicker to do this and iterate with a wireframe than with a built-out website. Even more, if there are multiple designers, it makes much more sense to start with a wireframe to allow for easy collaboration. For example, sharing the right messaging is important, and a wireframe is an easy way to share and review with multiple designers instead of relying on other tools. Of course, review and iteration don’t stop after the wireframe is complete. But it makes sense to start this process with a wireframe instead of the actual website.
It’s pretty clear to see that website wireframes will only help you, save you time, and save money.
There is no reason not to build one and there are endless reasons why building a website wireframe is important. Whatever the reason is that you’re building a site, you want it to be functional and effective. The best way to do that is by starting with a wireframe. Questions? Ideas? Comment using the box below.