What wireframes are..

and why you should love them.

Before I got seriously into the business of webb I was complaining about the tedious process there must be about making a website, I am of a very impatient nature. But I’ve learn’t why we shouldn’t skip this crucial step, let me tell you why.

So firstly: what are wireframes?
I’d like to think that wireframes are like blueprints of a website, it is what defines the interactions a user can do. Can you as a user sort the search you made on shoes by brand and prize or are there 200 shoes with the same picture and pricetags? The information you are presented with also defines what actions you are able to make, or not make.

An example of a wireframe showing how a panel-menu works:

omnigraffle wireframe

Since I have the ability to setup a working website myself (I’ve done a few) I’ve sometimes fallen into the trap of skipping the wireframes step, “I know how I want it”. I’ve then spent countless of hours making strange decisions that I could have avoided.

So I will give you a list of why wireframes are good for you.

1. They keep you focused
They tell you what to do, so you do that and not a lot of other things.

2. The dialogue will be easier for you.
This is true wether you are the webdeveloper, the project-manager, the product-owner or whoever needs to know about this website. It’s on paper therefor we can see it, and so there was a chat.

3. They are the basis of testing.
With a wireframe its as easy as printing it out, asking the person next to you on the subway “where would you click to buy this product? Ask and you will get answers and insights that you need.

Some words along the way:

To make sure the tests are informative: ask for input and test on the right users, your users. Find out where they are and what they need; take steps from there. (Just because the users want a feature doesnt mean they should have it, it’s also about listening and see the need behind the wanting and find the accurate solution).

What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments!