Wireframes are a visual plan of what you want to build. In the digital world, this “blueprint” serves as a guide to creative teams and gives them a clear base to start their production on. This is why wireframes are so important.
They can be represented in a multitude of ways, but a few standards should be utilized. They should not have any company branding, typographic treatments, imagery, nor should they portray any brand colors. They should display page layout, navigation, page content and other interface elements.
While those standards should be maintained, the fidelity of the wireframes is also another thing to consider. Since wireframes are used to literally plan a functional program or tool, the wireframes only need to be as clear or as precise to convey what needs to be achieved. If it is an internal wireframe for creative team purposes only, low fidelity wireframes may only be needed. Low fidelity wireframes are usually just quick sketch drawings on paper. If a client presentation is needed, high fidelity wireframes should be used. High fidelity wireframes will often be digitized versions that have been neatly laid out and may even be working prototypes.
Aesthetics aside, wireframes need to be solid and approved by the client, because they are used by multiple people for different reasons. First and foremost, the client uses them to ensure that their objectives are being met. Designers use wireframes to judge placement and hierarchy of different elements on the page. Developers may use them to determine what data structure they will use, along with what type of functionality they will have to create for the project. These are just a few examples of the people who actually use wireframes to help produce their work.
Since there are so many parties involved with the creation and use of the wireframes, they often times can be hard to produce with everyone’s objectives satisfied to some degree. You may run into a few problems while creating wireframes. It may be difficult to decide how much of the design is actually dictated by the wireframe. Sometimes, it is difficult to visualize what the wireframes are trying to explain. Lastly, in traditional wireframes, they don’t show functionality of a program. But in modern wireframing tools, functionality is being added in, like in the program Flairbuilder.
Even though wireframing can sometimes be a bit problematic or controversial, it is still an essential piece of the creative process. It allows everyone in the project to see what direction the project should go. It will also allow people to bring up potential problems that may occur later down the road and save time and money by addressing them in the beginning of the project. Because lets face it, you wouldn’t build a house without a blueprint or floor layout, so why should you build a digital program without a plan?