What Are Wireframes? And Why I Use Them As A Designer

Design

Today we’re talking all about one of my favorite things to do as a designer: wireframes! So today, I’ll answer questions like what are wireframes? And why I use them as a designer. I honestly didn’t start creating wireframes for my projects until roughly 2 – 3 years ago, but since, they’ve really changed the game for me. So let’s get started on all things wireframes!

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What is a wireframe?

One definition by Career Foundry is that, “a wireframe is a two-dimensional skeletal outline of a webpage or app. Wireframes provide a clear overview of the page structure, layout, information architecture, functionality, and intended behaviors.” Another way to think of a wireframe is to think of it as a design outline. It’s building & putting together all the pieces (and getting all the approvals) before the development stage. 

Wireframes are typically used by UX designers to create the framework of the design before handing it off to be developed. There are two types of wireframes: low-fidelity and high-fidelity wireframes. Low fidelity are ones with a lot less detail and are typically a simple sketch on paper or outline. High-fidelity wireframes come with a lot more detail and can include the fonts, images, colors, etc. 

Tools to create wireframes

There are a few industry standard tools that designers use for wireframes. The most well known wireframe tools are Figma, Sketch & Adobe XD. They are all fairly similar in nature and allow you to not only design but also create prototypes. My favorite and the one I use is Adobe XD.  

If you want to get started, I definitely suggest playing with the free trials of each or starting out with Adobe XD because they do offer a free plan. 

Why I use them as a designer

As I mentioned above, I’ve only been creating wireframes for my projects for roughly 2-3 years. To be fair, I probably was doing them prior to that and just didn’t know that I was but still. Before, I would start building & designing (a website in my case) on whatever platform I was using. Now, I start by creating a low-fidelity wireframe to get some layout options out. Then when I decide on my favorite, I create a high-fidelity wireframe. This allows me to start with a blank slate and not worry about any platform restrictions. I can let my imagination go wild, try new things and it’s a lot easier to design while not worrying about the ‘development side’. 

Once the designs are done, developing actually becomes a lot faster. I know what is needed, I know font sizes, I have all the images, I have the colors and backgrounds and any design elements all ready to go for the build. It speeds up my process and makes it all go a lot smoother. So I use wireframes to make the design process more creative & fun and the development process much smoother & faster. 

I love creating wireframes now and use them all the time as a web designer. It helps a lot with my process and if I do end up working with a developer in the future, it simplifies that transfer process as well. So if you haven’t made some wireframes, try it out! So now you know: what are wireframes? and why I use them as a designer.

 

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