How good planning pays off and the importance of wireframes

It has finally arrived…The new TJS website is live.

We have developed a clear and concise methodology for planning and delivering a website. The process has been developed since the company started in 1999 draws upon our experience and training with many clients. Part of this process is to understand our client’s business objectives and which of these can be met through digital channels either through mobile, desktop devices. There are many issues to consider and we’ve found these are best communicated to all stakeholders via a wireframing process.

So what are wireframes and why are they so important?

There are 3 simple ways to describe a wireframe:

  • Black, white and grey layouts formed by simple, basic shapes and blocks that show different elements or features on a page. They focus solely on function and where a particular element may take you.
  • Completely devoid of any styling such as font choices, colour, imagery, any thing that may distract you from function and purpose
  • We often use the analogy of building a home. The wireframing part of it is the plans and blueprints which say where elements are going to be situated and what they are for. The decorating comes later.

 

wireframes-launch

Above: Example of how a wireframe might look.

6 reasons why wireframing is an essential part of web design

1. Visual architecture
Sometimes a site map doesn’t explain function very well, particularly on larger websites. A wireframe starts to put this into a visual form which helps to make the customer journey more understandable. You start to see how the website is taking shape and how it will eventually work.

2. Clarifies site features and function
Different agencies will use different terminology for particular features & functions. A customer may not understand what these mean when simply written down, so the wireframing process helps to make these features clear as to where they may be and how they may work.

It may be that certain features need to be added or removed depending on the objectives of the project. It makes it easier to understand how this may effect the end goal if it is visually represented in a wireframe.

3. Brings usability to the forefront
The wireframing process brings usability to the forefront of understanding how your customer journey will turn out. Wireframes help people see things objectively without the distraction of colours or fonts etc. The naming of links, conversion paths and placement of features are all seen clearly through the simplicity of a wireframe.

4. Shows how the project can be updated easily
Our projects are based on a Content Management System (CMS). When new features are required in the future, for example a new page or new products or services, a wireframe will help show how the project could expand. Using the architecture of the wireframe you can see exactly where new elements can be added successfully.

5. Breaks up the design process
The design process is actually a lengthy process in terms of the phases a project goes through from start to handing over a finished design to a developer. Wireframing helps to break this process up so that during the design phase, we are only deciding upon the styling of the project rather than trying to work out what features are to be included or not. This means feedback on each stage is more manageable for everyone.

6. Saves time
Depending on the complexity of a project, it can take a fair amount of time to complete. Wireframing helps to save time in a variety of ways, from the developers understanding what they are building, through to the content creation being clearer. It puts everyone on the same page so that everyone knows what to expect at the project completion. There are no nasty surprises.

Wireframing was a key stage in the planning of the new TJS site. It helped us to strip out any unnecessary or dated elements of the old site. We wanted to give our potential new clients all the information they need to know about us so that they would feel confident knowing that we can produce what they need.

If you have a project in mind, please call Richard today on 01507 525 500 to get started.

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