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June 12, 2023updated 28 Jul 2023 4:07pm

What is wireframing?

Wireframes are used in web design mostly and act like an architectural blueprint

By Tech Monitor Staff

Product and website designing include one fundamental step: wireframing. In the field, there are different types of wireframes and different uses for them.

Wireframes are mostly used by UX designers since it provides a basic structure that every developer can agree on and that can act as a guide for future projects. Without further ado, here is what wireframing entails.

Wireframing concept on a tablet
Wireframing acts as an architectural blueprint (Photo: ronstik/Shutterstock)

What is a wireframe?

In computing, website wireframes are a visual guide that is used to represent the proposed layout of a webpage. They are comparable to architectural blueprints, as they take the form of a two-dimensional skeletal sketch of a webpage or application.

A wireframe includes the functions available, the relative priorities of the information and functions, rules for displaying types of information and the effects of different scenarios on the display. Graphics and specific stylistic choices are usually kept at a minimum since it is only supposed to be a simplistic structure of the final product.

These projects can either be drawn by hand or digitally, depending on the brief.

Why are wireframes useful?

Wireframing and wireframes have three main aims: keeping the concept user-focused, and clarifying website features, and they are incredibly cheap and quick to create.

Because of their nature, wireframes open a conversation between users, including feedback and an exchange of ideas between designers. A good example of wireframing is the use of the Lorem Ipsum text on written documents, which gauges how much space is needed and the layout of the page.

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By wireframing, web designers can offer their clients a good representation of their requests, providing a clear explanation of the intent behind the stylistic choices. By looking at a wireframe, one could decide to change something or add or remove an element too.

What are the different types of wireframes?

There are three types of mainframes: low-fidelity wireframes, mid-fidelity wireframes and high-fidelity wireframes. Their features are quite self-explanatory, but here are the main ones.

Low-fidelity wireframes are the most basic form of wireframe, usually sketched by hand without any real scale or grid nor accuracy. They are made of simplistic shapes and images rather than detailed ones.

Mid-fidelity wireframes are one step further than the previous ones, and they are the most commonly used ones. They offer a more accurate representation of the idea in the layout, even if still with minimal detail. Normally, designers use different shades of grey to express the relevance of each element. Rather than hand-drawn, they are digitally sketched on tools such as Sketch or Balsamiq.

The most complete types of wireframes are high-fidelity ones, which include pixel-specific layouts. They have images, fleshed-out text and even interactive elements such as maps.

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