Why Wireframing is a crucial step in the design of your Web or Mobile Application
Wireframing is an essential step in every Web or mobile application and skipping this vital stage will more than likely end with an application that doesn’t meet yours or your users requirements, exceeds your budget and/or timeline for launch.
Perhaps the most important reason for a robust wireframe stage in your build process is that it allows you and all the project stakeholders to identify usability issues early on in your design process and make the necessary changes before the developers start to code and build the application.
At vServices we spend a lot of time with all our clients during this phase and are happy to work extensively on iterations of our wireframes to ensure that what we build is exactly what you are expecting and is an engaging digital platform for your users.
So, let’s start at the beginning and first look at exactly what a wireframe is.
What exactly is a wireframe?
A wireframe is essentially a skeleton of each of the pages or frames the web application or mobile app will require. This skeleton is a two-dimensional depiction of a page’s interface that shows the spacing of elements on the page, how content is prioritised, what functionalities are available, and how users will interact with the site.
Each page or frame is ‘clickable’ exactly as the ‘user’ will journey through it. Wireframes are intentionally void of colour, graphics and stylised fonts so that there are no distractions from user experience and journey. Spending time to get the journey perfect is worth doing at this stage as changes once the application has been built could be costly.
You can also use the wireframes as a prototype to test with a selection of your target users to get their feedback on how they find the usability of the platform, this can be valuable input as sometimes if you are too close to the build yourself you may not spot friction points that someone else will.
What should not be included in a wireframe?
It is really important to keep the wireframes simple. This is because the point of wireframing is to show how elements are laid out on the page and how the site navigation and user flow should work. Too many colors or images can distract from focusing on the layout and navigational elements.
We make sure to eliminate or reduce the use of color, images, graphics, and stylised fonts to achieve your goal of depicting a simple visual representation of the skeleton. We use grey, white and black colour and a generic font to prevent the user from being distracted by the style of the typography.
We also void highly stylised graphics and images. Instead, use rectangles and squares as placeholders, adding an “x” through the middle of the box to show where the image will be placed or a box with a play button to show where video will go.
5 Reasons to not skip the wireframe stage
As tempting as it can be to skip straight to the design phase, even with a hard and fast Scope of Work brief, we would highly recommend you don’t. Here are the top 5 reasons to thoroughly wireframe and test your build first.
Focus on the user journey, not the design elements
Wireframes are a great way to think about what elements should be on each frame or page and how those elements will function. Simply taking out colors, images, and stylised pages makes it much more straightforward. You can then easily gather feedback from your users and stakeholders on the navigation and allocation of elements on the pages, rather than focusing on images or headlines or specific words.
Identify any issues before you build (it’s far less painful at this stage)
Wireframes allow you to map out the functionality of the pages, catch problems early, and save time on revisions later. It is much less painful to make changes to a wireframe than start to change user flows during the build. Mapping out the functionality early will reduce the amount of back and forth that often comes with the development phase. It is easier, less time consuming and far less expensive to rewrite the function in a wireframe than a web or mobile application.
Stay focused on delivering a frictionless journey for every user
Wireframing is also a great way to really focus on the needs of your users or user segments. Ensuring that the platforms you’re going to build meets their needs and provides a frictionless, seamless user journey. You may have more than one user segment, so use the wireframes to make sure the applications are successfully delivering to everyone.
Gather feedback from users and stakeholders
Wireframing is a great tool for gathering feedback from stakeholders and your end users, figuring out flaws early or where improvements can be made. If efficiency is a goal of yours, which most likely it is, then wireframing is an absolute must. Remember that without gathering quality feedback early, you might create a more painstaking and time-consuming revision process later, making everything much less efficient. Wireframes will allow you to gather feedback from stakeholders, quickly move things around on your wireframes based on the feedback you receive, gather feedback again and keep iterating until everyone is completely happy the user journey and layout meets the goal.
Prioritising content and key elements on the page
Wireframes are a great way to help you prioritise your content by revealing space constraints and designing the hierarchy of elements on the page. Having the opportunity early on to to visualise the hierarchy of your pages and begin visually displaying the space constraints will save you a lot of time later. It is also vital that any specific call to actions are clear and work well for the users. The purpose and objectives of the web or mobile applications must be achieved and this should be tested thoroughly at wireframe stage.
Wireframing the Enrichment Programme for Trinity School, London
vServices was approached by Trinity School, London with a project brief to build a web application. The web applications aim was to help their Students participate in the School’s Enrichment programme, that until now had been delivered offline.
The Enrichment programme is a valuable 2 year programme that encourages the Students to develop more than just academic skills outside of their school day. The programme encourages the students to work on 5 core skills; Teamwork, Community, Academic Discovery, Creativity and Physical Challenge.
Managing the enrichment programme offline had presented problems for both the Students and Teachers, who found it time consuming and a little un-engaging in its current format. With over 400 Students participating in the programme, vServices set about making a web application for them to revolutionise this great school programme.
vServices – Your Custom Software Development House
vServices is a global software development house with 100’s of customers across the US, UK, EU, Middle East, Australia and Asia.
We use the power of Mobile, Web, Analytics, Cloud, and Digital technologies to unlock the potential of businesses across many different verticals.
Working with businesses from Startup stage right through to Enterprise level, our bespoke Software solutions have helped 100’s of businesses in Technology, Education, Healthcare, Property, Financial Services and many more to realise their full potential.
Headquartered in London, vServices also has offices in the US and Middle East so perfectly placed to service our global clients.
Some of our clients
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If you are a startup and have a concept that you need a development partner to bring to life or an existing business that requires help to develop your platform do get in touch. We’d love to hear from you. You can email us or call us on + 44 203 955 7851