Foundation For UX Design: Everything You Need to Know About Wireframing

February 28, 2022

Every creative endeavor has a beginning point. For the content writer, that starting point is the article’s outline. For a digital illustrator, the beginning is the initial sketch.

A wireframe is crucial if you’re looking to make your website appealing. Wireframing is the beginning point for an app or website design. It’s the proverbial backbone behind every optimal website or mobile app.

This blog will highlight the benefits of wireframing for UX/UI projects. We’ll explore multiple wireframing types, how they work, and how to design one. Here’s everything you need to know about wireframing.

What Is Wireframing?

Wireframing involves creating a 2D visualization of what the finished product version will look like. A wireframe is the simplest representation of a web or app product’s design. It’s also the fastest way for a design team to get ideas down.

A wireframe is the very first draft of a product’s user interface. It often contains grayscale shapes and the bare minimum design elements.

Here’s what to expect from a wireframe:

  • Squares or rectangles representing icons and images
  • Lorem ipsum” placeholder for texts
  • Squares with a grey filler representing buttons.
  • No background color, maybe a grey palette
  • Static design elements


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At What Stage Do You Need a Wireframe?

Wireframing happens during the exploratory stage of a new product cycle. The exploratory phase involves UX/UI designers testing product scope, assessing business demands, and collaborating on design ideas. You can facilitate this collaboration with a free online meeting service, make assessments, and draw conclusions.

The wireframe is the total of conclusions from the exploratory phase but in the form of a simple 2D iteration. Designers can build on the wireframe using insights from user feedback, delivering a more comprehensive product iteration like a prototype.

Why Your App Project Needs a Wireframe

Some designers argue that wireframes are a needless step in the design process, but many design teams still rely on wireframes. Why’s that? The simple reason is that wireframes add value to your product’s production process.

Here’s how:

Life-like Product Assessment

A wireframe takes an imaginary product idea and brings it as close to reality as possible. The new representation of your product can give you a new perspective. A product idea can often seem great until you see what it might look like. If the team has a bring your own device policy, you can have the chance to see what the wireframe looks like on different screens.

  • It helps you make your product ideas more tangible
  • It shows you what works and doesn’t from your initial idea
  • It guides your next steps
  • It facilitates informed product design decisions
Product Validations

The end user of any web or app design is the customer. Therefore, it’s important to ensure that your product ideas resonate with your target audience.

A good wireframe can help you understand what your customer wants. Even if it’s a 2D depiction containing boxes and arrows, how people react can inform product direction. A targeted outreach program for your product is more effective when a wireframe is involved.

Compare Multiple Designs

Wireframes are cheap and easy to create. Therefore, you can compare multiple designs and build on the ideal one for your product. Rapid wireframing procedures can help you explore multiple routes, ensuring that you’re leaving no stone unturned.

Allows for Easier Communication

Internal and external stakeholders will spend too much time explaining decisions and ideas without a wireframe.

A wireframe gives the team something tangible to discuss, debate, and collaborate on. And with an enterprise communication solution, analyzing and dissecting the wireframe in real-time is straightforward.


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Types of Wireframes

There are three types of wireframes, and they differ in the amount of detail they contain.

Low-fidelity Wireframes

This is the most basic representation of the app or web product. It’s the design’s beginning point and is often rough, with minimal scale, pixel, or grid accuracy.

A low-fidelity wireframe only contains block shapes, mock content, and filler text. They’re ideal for starting design conversations, selecting the right navigation layout, and mapping user flow. They’re also the best option for situations where you have multiple unique product concepts.

Mid-fidelity Wireframe

The most commonly utilized version, a mid-fidelity wireframe, is a more accurate iteration of the product layouts. While there’s not a lot of focus on typography or images, a mid-fidelity wireframe can indicate headings, body content, element prominence, and more.

High-fidelity Wireframe

Are you looking for comprehensive attention to detail? A high-fidelity wireframe will include written content and feature images plus pixel-specific layouts.

The comprehensive nature of high-fidelity wireframes makes them ideal for the end stages of product design. A high-fidelity wireframe can help you finetune the product’s user experience and its ecommerce personalisation features.They’re also great for exploring interactive maps and complex menu systems.


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Step-by-Step Guide to Designing a Wireframe

It’s important to remember that wireframing is a creative process. Therefore, there’s no one-size-fits-all method to building one for your product.

Here, we’ll provide a step-by-step guide to designing a wireframe. But design teams can always proceed in a different order depending on creativity, project, and available resources.

Step 1 – Wireframe the UI for Each Screen

This first step is about adding the different components to individual wireframe screens. This step is all about transferring the elements from your paper drawings to a basic wireframe on a digital screen.

It’s important to keep things simple while wireframing the UI for each screen. Use UI components that reflect functionality as opposed to visual elements. This step should be about providing better detail than paper images while keeping it functional.

Step 2 – Time for Visual Design Elements

It’s not uncommon for this step to cause fierce debate within your design team. It’s all due to this question – how much visual design should be in your wireframe?

Remember that a wireframe should be a simple product iteration. It’s a foundation that should allow the design team to fill in the blanks when the time comes. Therefore, you shouldn’t bother with color palettes and typography.

Instead, the extent of visual design should be to create a low-fidelity wireframe that indicates basic layouts and structures. Your visual design should put a premium on layout and using space correctly to enhance user experience. Doing so will help with design interaction and readability.

Step 3 – Lorem Ipsum or Real Content?

On one side, lorem ipsum placeholder text means you don’t have to wait for real content to be ready before designing your wireframe. Design can move forward while the content team creates text for the web or app product.

Conversely, lorem ipsum may lead to mistakes in designer calculations. As much as they’re similar, real content won’t exist exactly like lorem ipsum. It won’t have perfect alignment, and there’s no way to tell what the eventual text distribution will look like.

Content is a crucial way to build customer relationships. Therefore, the ideal choice depends on your team and product demands. We do advise against relying too heavily on lorem ipsum. Doing so may mean a few unpleasant surprises later in the design process.


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Step 4 – Wireframe Navigation

Designing the information architecture for your wireframe will force you to think about product navigation.

It’s normal not to be fully sure of how different parts of the product will tie in together. The design and developer team often slice and chop at the navigation system using ci processes.What is ci?

You want to create a navigation system that’s fluid without straying outside the boundaries of logic. It’s very easy for new product users to feel lost. Therefore, it’s important to ensure they can tell where they are at any point within the product interface.

If you’re designing an extensive product, you may want to consider two navigation menus. What makes it to the primary menu? What product features have a supporting role and should make it to the secondary menu? Decisions like this are an important part of designing the wireframe.


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Step 5 – Add a Decent Level of Interaction

The main components of a wireframe should be user navigation and information architecture. It should be about how it looks and fits without the distraction of aesthetics. But there is a place for interaction design in a wireframe.

It’s important to include a few basic interaction moments in your wireframe. In fact, doing so can make the website more intuitive and change the way it feels for users during product testing.For instance, a button should lead somewhere, and a dropdown menu should be responsive.

There’s Your Guide to Wireframing

Above, we have provided answers to the common questions asked about wireframing. A wireframe is a crucial cog in the design process for an app or web product. Design it well, and you’re setting your project up for success.

Authored by:

Grace Lau – Director of Growth Content, Dialpad

Grace Lau is the Director of Growth Content at Dialpad, an AI-powered cloud communication platform for better and easier team collaboration. She has over 10 years of experience in content writing and strategy. Currently, she is responsible for leading branded and editorial content strategies, partnering with SEO, cloud PBX phone system, and Ops teams to build and nurture content. She’s written for websites like FlippingBook and Mailmunch. Here is her LinkedIn.

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