10 tips to improve your wireframes in the web design process
Justinmind’s top 10 wireframing tips to take your web or mobile design process to the next level. Pay special attention to number 2!
The wireframe is an important element of any web or mobile design project. Whether it’s just a quick sketch on paper or you’re building a digital prototype with a UI kit, wireframing can make your design process better. For instance, Shopify shows us how presenting wireframes for design approval can help clearly communicate plans to your team, client, and key stakeholders.
So if this is the first time you’ll be wireframing, it’s time to get your feet wet. Here are 10 wireframing tips that will help convert your earliest ideas into design success stories.
Wireframing tip #1— identify the design problem, rather than creating more
At the beginning of the design process, there is a tendency to want to find solutions, rather than tackling the initial problem. You may have a good design idea. But before you dive off the deep end, create a wireframe and allow that idea to evolve. You’ll end up with a great design that actually resolves the initial problem.
Wireframes help us identify problems, visualize and test out possible ways to overcome them and rework down the line. Sure, not all design ideas work out. But it’s way easier to make changes early on during the wireframing phase, than after having written all that code.
With a design tool like Justinmind, you can jump between changes you’ve made to your wireframes without losing any content. It’s called version control and will help you fail forward.
Wireframing tip #2— always design user-first
Your users are the ones you need to impress. Making your design user-centered will encourage users to stay on your site or app and hopefully convert. That’s what this is all about after all 😉 In order to design user-first, you’ll need to know what your users needs are.
The first step towards capturing the user’s needs is to understand your target users and customers, using personas. Personas are fictional characters used in design and typically have a name and picture; relevant characteristics such as a role, activities, behaviors, and attitudes; and a goal, which is the problem that has to be addressed or the benefit that should be provided. Learn how to create user personas here.
Remember: You + Us + Them = Something Useful
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Wireframing tip #3— stick to a deadline
If you want to keep a project moving, divide it up into phases, assign deadlines and stick to them. Time keeping is an important skill for everyone involved in the design process – but especially when it comes to wireframing. Don’t spend longer than is needed on a wireframe – in fact, pixel perfection is frowned upon at this stage in the game.
Once you’ve defined the scope of your design project, try to think about a timeline that you can follow. Justinmind’s Atlassian Jira integration will help you track tour time and manage your requirements at the same time.
Wireframing tip #4— choose functionality over beauty (at least for now)
Let’s take a trip down memory lane: usability and accessibility come first, the aesthetics can wait. No matter how beautiful your interface, if users can’t work it, they will leave.
Start by mapping out the main screens in your web or mobile UI – learn how to create a new screen in your Justinmind wireframe here. Add the main components, such as the navigation system and the UI elements that directly contribute to the user journey. Test these out before you get any deeper into the visual details.
Wireframing tip #5— keep everyone in the loop
One of the key objectives of wireframing is to communicate an initial design idea. Keep your wireframes simple and make sure that they fulfill their purpose of communicating and translating ideas. It’s important that everyone involved in the process, from designers and developers to stakeholders and users has a say and can give feedback.
A wireframe can act as a blueprint with which designers, developers, architects and project managers can work on to get everyone up to scratch, so allow it to work its magic. With Justinmind, you can keep everyone in the loop with our teamwork and collaboration features. Users can work on the same wireframe simultaneously, locking out areas to avoid overriding their colleagues’ work.
Wireframing tip #6— content is King
Even though wireframes don’t necessarily focus on the details, you’re still going to want to home in on some of the atomic elements and features of your final end-product. If your wireframes aren’t sketches, be realistic about the amount of content that will be added to the page.
This holds true for the number and length of links in the navigation too. If possible, use accurately sized fonts, images and graphics, and consider what will happen to the design when more content is added. The last thing you want it stakeholders thinking that heaps and heaps of extra content can be included.
With Justinmind, you can use our rules, guides and grids to help you keep your content hierarchy on point.
Wireframing tip #7— aim for consistency
A consistent app or webpage is always helpful, to users, stakeholders and product teams alike. Customer loyalty is built on trust, and trust requires familiarity and consistency. Consistency makes the world go round, and, of course, sites easier to use. For instance, think about older users who might be more inclines to stay on a website if they are familiar with the navigation system.
For instance, uses are more likely to revisit your website if they can easily navigate it the first time round. Keep things simple and consistent. Opt for a low fidelity wireframe to test out your initial ideas. Then, use templates and masters to avoid rework and maintain consistency across wireframe screens.
Wireframing tip #8— take advantage of with 3rd-party integrations
Tired of design tools that don’t talk to each other? Choose a tool that works well with other resources, no matter the work flow.
Justinmind is integrated with several other design tools, such as Illustrator and Sketch. Export your Sketch artboards and start building them into interactive prototypes with Justinmind. You can even choose which artboards to export when.
Wireframing tip #9— keep your design process server-side and secure
A secure design process will help keep your stakeholders happy, and should be best practice every time. Stakeholders should feel that your resources comply with their specific needs.
Justinmind Enterprise allows you to host your wireframes on your own servers, for added security and personalization. This is particularly important when working with sensitive or confidential material. Your entire organization is able to collaborate on-premise behind your corporate firewall. You can also password protect each of your wireframes for added security.
Wireframing tip #10— pick the right tool
Using the wrong tool to build your wireframe can ruin your initial design and increase the chances of rework and errors down the line. Getting ideas out on paper is often a good way to start throwing together ideas and concepts. However, you should be thinking about moving on to wireframing and prototyping as the project evolves.
Choose a tool like Justinmind that allows you to build in dynamic content, interaction and animation.
Justinmind is a complete low to high-fidelity wireframing and prototyping tool that allows you to create designs that you can present to everyone. Try it out for yourself today!