The wireframing phase of a digital experience project is so important — and also such an easy place for work and client relationships to go off the rails. In this not-quite-real but not-exactly-gestural part of creating websites, confusion comes easy. Fortunately, there’s some clear-cut things teams and clients can agree on when it comes to thinking through wires and giving feedback. Here are some tips as a Webflow agency from us over here at Edgar Allan.
First: What is a wireframe, and what is it not?
At Edgar Allan, we use wireframes as a structural element — the skeleton beneath the visual and verbal story of your website that shows organization and relationships between content. It’s an early blueprint for your user’s experience that pencils in all of the interactions, information, choices, and linkages between pages and site sections, plus gives a sketch-like view of how imagery may be used and how copy may be presented. It’s a map written in pencil and a visual aid to a deeper conversation around functionality and feel, which we’ll be having with you as the project moves along.
All that said, it’s also easy to mistake a wireframe for something more than it is.
Wireframes are not designed layouts. They are not representative of final — or even first draft — text. They are also not carved in stone and unchangeable. At this point, you’re seeing a sketch of what could be. And we’ll work together to fill in all the details of the full picture over time.
So, what’s helpful to having a good conversation about what’s there, what can be, and what should be? Focused questions.
To keep the blueprint metaphor going, if your website is a house, at this stage in building you’re looking at where each room sits in the floorplan, imagining yourself inside the building, walking the halls, moving from the kitchen to the bathroom to the bedroom. You’re thinking about light and views, and testing out whether the doors and windows let you (or in our case, your audiences) use the space the way it’s been envisioned.
Some things to think about when giving feedback on wireframes or any UX:
Are we doing the most we can to help users solve the problems they’re coming here seeking answers to?
Have we left out important information? Are there new things to think about adding?
Maybe we’ve got the right info or the right sections, but it’s in the wrong places. What might need to be rearranged?
While wireframes aren’t designed layouts and you shouldn’t look at the words on them as final copy, when we make them, we are attempting to create the outline for what will be, so some things, like general copy length, button placement, and spaces allocated for video, illustrations or other imagery are important and the choices made are meaningful.
Some bigger things to keep in mind as you’re looking over wireframes:
Within a certain level of tolerance… Are you seeing paragraphs but it feels like it should be mere characters? That kind of thing.
Does it feel right to move from one page to another from where links are placed? What about buttons? Are there enough? Do they indicate the right actions? Do they all just vaguely say “Learn More?” (They shouldn’t.)
Because there’s so much to consider here, it’s relieving to know that there are some things you can just put out of your mind when reviewing wireframes. Again, we’re early in the experience-building process here. There’s a lot to talk about, and a lot to come. But for now, don’t worry about:
Now, go into that wireframe review with some pointed questions and an open mind ready to see the possibilities of the blueprints set in front of you.
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