7 Great Wireframe Design Tips

Chelsea Baldwin / September 25, 2019

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Revisions in web development are tedious.

You may have handed off the project brief thinking you included everything, only to realize you’ve got twice as many pages to produce as you thought and that you won’t meet your launch deadline. Talk about stress. And a blown budget.

Wireframes help you save almost all of this headache. They’re sketched-out versions of what your website pages will ultimately look like, and they save much more time in revisions than they take to do in the first place.

So here are seven wireframe design tips that will help you save time and money in your project budget.

1. Hand-draw your first drafts

They don’t have to be pretty — they just have to get the point across. Sketch out your main menu navigation and each page represented under that navigation.

Where will you place images? Text? Where will your call-to-action buttons appear? If you’re running ads on your website, where will they go?

2. Use a grid

Especially if you’re drawing by hand, using a grid will help you see how the elements will display sitting beside one another. This helps you size your elements realistically so you don’t get a surprise when things don’t fit right in the development stage.

3. Keep the end goal (of the user) in mind

The ultimate goal of creating your website is for it to be a pleasant experience for the user. So think: if you were the user, what would be your goal if you landed on your website? Make this goal as easy to achieve as possible so users don’t get irritated and leave your site.

4. Go digital, and go for a test run

Once you’ve got the basics laid out in a pen-and-paper wireframe, make a digital version that’s functional enough for others to take it for a test run.

As you’re watching how they interact with your wireframe, take notes on what frustrates them, what actions they’re not taking that you want them to take, and how you can fix these problems.

Then update your wireframe and take it on another test run. Repeat this process until you’re happy with how users are interacting with your website.

5. Keep it simple

Don’t overcomplicate things and get 12 steps ahead of yourself by adding unnecessary pages and things that “would be nice” but aren’t necessary at this stage in your business. Adding these before you’re ready will confuse the process and won’t make the core features as efficient as they could be.

6. Scrap what needs to be scrapped

If you realize there’s something excessive, get rid of it. Cut your losses now before they’re bigger, more expensive, and more time-consuming later on.

7. Keep your brand in mind

As you’re keeping your user needs at the forefront of your wireframe development, it’s always a good idea to make sure the design elements of your brand show on each page. Usually, a logo in the menu, coupled with your brand fonts and colors on the rest of the page, is enough. However, if there are some places on your wireframe where your brand isn’t obvious, find ways to fix that.

Simplicity moves things forward

If there’s something you need to fix, look for the easy solution rather than the complicated one. Keep it simple for yourself and your users and your website development will go a lot more smoothly.

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