So, what is a wireframe anyway? Well, a wireframe is really just a lo-fi visual blueprint that maps out all of the elements on each page, template, or screen that your website or app is made up of.
Even though it's visual, it's an important part of the development process and allows you to craft the way people will use your software without worrying about things such as color, copy or images.
Although usually the responsibility of a specific user experience (UX) person, as a programmer, knowing how to work with wireframes will save you countless hours as they help make the functional requirements of a project clearer.
Below are a couple of reasons why you should be excited about wireframing, and why you’ll soon be wondering how you ever lived without it.
An early visual guide
This is the most beneficial aspect of wireframes.
The chances are high that your client (or some members of your team) will not know a lot of the technical terms that you use when developing a website. Describing in words the various features that you can use to create the interface that they’re looking for will more often than not result in a blank stare.
This is where wireframing really comes into its own.
Being able to move the process from words or a sitemap to something more visual will allow people to see why you’re recommending specific features and the role each plays in the overall user experience.
This also provides an early opportunity for people to make their views known on the layout of the site, which is certainly far more agreeable than having them suggest a change after you’ve already started coding.
Working with a wireframe allows you to make the changes that people want within minutes, rather than spending hours refactoring code.
Helps to determine features
Wireframing gives you a clear indication of the type of features you want to use on your site.
Having the blueprint in front of you helps you decide which features you require, such as 3rd party services like Google Maps for example.
In theory, many features may seem like a good idea, only for that to change when you see them in the context of the broader UX. This helps resolve a lot of those functionality and feature decisions early on and is a real positive.
Want to learn more?
Check out this great “how-to” guide from the team at Envato if you’re interested in learning more about wireframing.
If you’ve never really looked into wireframing before, now is as good as any a time to start, and there’s no better place to look than AMES.
Here at AMES we have 25 years of experience in providing the very best IT education that New Zealand has to offer.
If you’re serious about a career in IT, then we want to hear from you.