Rewiring our Frames

Creating a wireframe, formerly known as a page schematic, is a crucial part of website development. Usually created early in the beginning stages of the web site’s design, a wireframe is essentially the blue print of the site. Simply, it is a mock layout depicting how the page will appear using, for example, boxes and lines in place of graphics and text. Wireframes give your page%u219s layout a solid foundation to develop on and help to clarify exactly what needs to be done on each page. Additionally it helps to pinpoint problems early in the development avoiding a lot of wasted time and effort later on.

Some opt to use any of the programs available like Visio, Excel, Word, Illustrator, Photoshop, and Powerpoint to create their structure. Others suggest first sketching a rough draft of how you want your page to look by hand and asking around for feedback on how it looks. This is especially useful when meeting with a client as it focuses on the content of the site. It also is clear and easy for the client to understand. Wireframes are excellent for discussions within the various project teams, ie the developers and designers.

Adding in the graphics too early may cause you or a client to be distracted from the actual frame of the page. Emotional responses like “Can we switch that color?”or “Can we use a different font?” divert attention from the real task at hand: Is the client satisfied with the actual set up. Additionally creating changes to the layout is much easier when it is done before all the extra workings are added in. Once you have the skeleton of your page arranged you can start adding in the graphics and content.

The main factors to include when you create your wire frame are: Navigation, Company logo, content, search functions and user logins if applicable. Obviously depending on what type of site you are creating there will be other elements to include too. Once you have figured out where you want each element , try it out to see how it works and refine accordingly. Especially nowadays when so much is dependant on a site’s navigation system and user friendly icons, when it spells the difference between a successful site and one that’snot, creating a run through of the site, a basic guide to how it will work, can be very beneficial.