For building a house you need a blueprint. It helps in understanding from where to start working and how the work should progress for completing the entire project most efficiently. Wireframing is the skeletal structure of a website that serves the purpose of a blueprint. In addition to a blueprint, it is better to create a demo-house so that those who will own it can get an idea about the end-result. A prototype web design is like a demo-house that offers a clearer picture of how the website will look and feel at the end. That is why for creating a rocking website both wireframing and prototyping are absolutely necessary. They help in putting the market or niche related research you have done to use, streamlining the workload and showing the way ahead for making an error-free, fully-functional website. As you progress through the stages of website building, correcting flaws become more expensive as it means undoing what you have done and then redoing it all over again. Having a prototype in place allows you to omit glitches without the expense of redoing the whole work, saving time as well as money. Here is a lowdown on the benefits and implementation of wireframing and prototyping to guide you in the right direction.
Why is Wireframes Essential?
Wireframe offers the structural outline of the design of the website. It has to demonstrate exactly where the contents will be placed, what will be the user interaction points and the organizational flow of the design. At a first glance, a wireframe may seem like nothing but mere boxes and lines. However, it is the vessel of all the creative influx that your website will soon embody. Without a well-planned wireframe website design the team of project managers, visual designers, copywriters, and developers will be clueless regarding work. Wireframing should be done at a rapid speed and with the consent of team members. An effective way is to take everyone’s input at the beginning itself and consulting them as the process progresses. Wireframing need not be too detailed but it has to be understandable and precise. Only three basic colours black, white and grey are used for making the wireframe. You do not have to insert images or icons at this stage. Crossed rectangles can be placed at spaces meant for images with an apt description below. Apart from being the fundamental structure of a website, wireframes also act as a mode of communication within the team of web designers.
Why Do You Need Prototypes?
A prototype is not just a structural representation but a model that resembles the end-product closely. It simulates the original website design, providing deeper insight into user experience. This is a viable solution for testing a designing hypothesis that reduces the risk of mistakes. The UX designers stress on prototyping before readying the actual website as it points out problem points and helps in smoothing down designing creases, otherwise invisible to the perception. It lets you check how the interactive options actually work. It usually has working buttons, trays, tabs and a lot more designing features. However, a prototype may or may not have actual website content. The stress here is on an interactive experience. Another reason for preferring prototypes is that they are less time-consuming. Tools like Adobe XD have made it easier to create website prototypes. On the other hand, building a website using complicated CSS, HTML and JS without a prototype takes more time. If the design does not match your requirement then the website has to be scrapped and rebuilt. You can even use clickable user interface prototyping to gain the inputs from the target audience. Apart from interactive efficiency, this type of test will prove whether the page layout is on point and the visual elements are appealing enough.
The Unimaginable Flexibility of Paper Prototypes
Converting ideas into visual sketches made with a pen on paper is the easiest way of recording them. Paper prototyping is a widely utilized low-cost method which can push your web developing project forward. The idea is to make sketches of each different website page or screen on paper. While doing a usability test you can turn over the page to show what the next screen, in consequence, will look like. One of the reasons for preferring paper prototyping is that they can be thrown away without much remorse. Unlike the digital versions, they need little time to be made. Plus, they can be scrapped and remade without extra expenses.
Since paper prototyping is so highly admired by the expert web developers, there are some advanced tools available to help you in this regard. You can choose stencils for adding buttons and icons at the right places with ease. You may also try mock phone case to demonstrate how the web page will look when seen through a hand-held device. The best way to make paper prototypes is to purchase a paper prototyping kit. They cost lesser than the full-blown designing software. The paper prototyping kits come with templates, pre-made sheets and other tools to help you create exact paper prototypes that look more realistic and presentable. Some of the advanced apps also let you transform a hand-drawn sketch into a digital output, complete with interactive buttons. All in all, paper prototypes are a great option for the conceptualization stage of web designing.
Exceptional Website Skeletons are Made of Robust Wireframing
Despite being low fidelity model, a wireframe is a necessary part of the creative process that goes into making a magnificent website. The main purpose of a wireframe is to help you set priorities and focus on the most important parts of a web page design. By putting UI wireframe to test, designers can be more sanguine about deriving user satisfaction. Being a skeletal frame, wireframes offer the freedom to criticize which a finished design cannot give. If you use Adobe XD, you will find a number of UI Kits that let you add different crucial elements of website designing like Sign Up, Checkout Screens, News Feeds, Posts and Activity Feeds. You can also transform any existing paper prototypes into a more interactive and clickable design with the help of such UI Kits. Along with traditional, website wireframe, it is advisable to create a mobile wireframe too as users are more likely to access the ready website from their smartphones.
High-Fidelity Prototypes Drive Accurate Results
When it comes to designing the next best thing, taking chances is not a smart move. To nullify the occurrence of unexpected errors, try high-fidelity prototypes. They are the combined digital presentation of the paper prototypes and wireframes you have already developed. Adobe XD offers a tool termed as hotlinks for connecting the mock screens so that stakeholders can roam from one page to another while testing the design and concept. This is the last phase of prototyping after which you can begin the actual web-development procedures.
Wireframing and prototyping involve users and stakeholders, taking each involved person’s feedback into account for a superior final outcome. These methods not just curb the chances of errors but also reduce the level of anxiety and stress which are usually a part of website making.