Wireframing is one of the first things to do in mobile applications development process and one of the most important steps that define the future success of your product.
Open any app market and take a look at some apps on the top chart. They may be all different: messengers, social media apps, fitness trackers, music, education, news, etc.
But two things they all definitely have in common are great UI and UX design. In this article, we will talk about wireframes as they make up a crucial part of mobile application design.
They are extremely important, probably almost as important as features and code. And here are the reasons why:
- First impressions. Just as you pay attention to a person’s appearance when you meet someone for the first time, UI is the first thing that draws user attention after opening the application.
The wireframe you make at the early stages of mobile applications development defines the arrangement of elements that users see on the page. Remember that sometimes poor UI is the reason people delete apps without even starting to use them.
- Comfort. You surely want your users to be pleased and satisfied while using your app. So, you shouldn’t only think about the way they see the page, but also the way they interact with the page.
It’s especially important in mobile applications development, but it’s also necessary for designing a web application. Convenient placement of buttons, checkboxes and other elements has great significance as it allows a user to easily navigate through your app.
- Saving your time and money. The better you make wireframes, the better final mobile application design is, and the less money and time you will have to spend later for implementing changes and enhancements.
What exactly is a wireframe?
A wireframe is a graphic representation of the arrangement of elements on the page of an application. It is all about the functionality of your product.
Wireframes are created using blocks, lines, boxes etc. to represent the arrangement of elements on the page. For avoiding distraction, the only colors used are black, white and gray.
Wireframe for an app is like a blueprint for a house. If you skip this mobile application design stage, it will be the same as starting to decide on the color of the walls in your living room without deciding how to wire the house.
Builders can’t work without a blueprint. So programmers can’t start coding effectively without seeing the prototype, and designers can’t start applying application interface without having an idea of the placement and arrangement of elements, which the wireframe gives.
So to make the work of the designers and developers clearer, you need to provide them with wireframes or at least detailed technical specification to create them.
Moreover, having clear wireframes will make communication between you and the project development team much easier.
At first, you should distinguish between low- and high-fidelity wireframes. The difference is in the realization level. Low-fidelity wireframes will give you the basic overview of how elements are arranged on the page, whereas high-fidelity wireframes are more detailed and can show some pictures and colors.
Low-fidelity wireframes are not so polished as high-fidelity wireframes, but they are a great tool and sufficient if you work with experienced UI/UX designers further.
How to create a wireframe
First of all: there is no such thing as the only perfect way to build a wireframe. How you will accomplish this step depends on your way of thinking, experience, and circumstances.
Here are some basic steps which you should take into consideration while creating a wireframe for your mobile or web application.
1. Get inspiration: You may want to start drawing and fetching lines and boxes, or perhaps, on the contrary, you may have no idea where to start. But in any case: get some inspiration. Look at your favorite apps, define which elements you believe to be especially convenient.
Find examples of mobile application interface design that you enjoy and the examples of one you don’t like at all. It will help you identify the elements that you definitely want to be implemented in your application.
2. Think as a user: However great you may find your ideas, try to look at the situation from your potential user’s point of view. Define your target audience. What are these people like?
What do they do? What needs should your app satisfy? Maybe you find some element wonderful, but it will be useless for your audience or, even worse, will irritate them.
3. Choose the tool: If you are fond of old-school things, use a pen and paper or a blackboard. Even if you’re not, it would be a good option at the first step. It will help you operate with your ideas more quickly.
Then choose a real digital tool like Balsamiq or any other you find convenient. Be creative, but always take into account the needs and preferences of your target user.
4. Functionality first: Think about functionality first, not mobile application interface design. Wireframes are all about structures. Pay attention to the navigation. It should be intuitive so that your users don’t have to think on how to go to another page.
5. Be consistent: While creating a wireframe you may be thinking “well, this element is obvious”. But don’t skip anything. Remember that designers and developers will use the wireframes you created in their work.
But don’t “overwhelm” the pages with too many irrelevant details either. The wireframe should clearly represent the interaction between app screens as well as allow to clearly see mobile application design concept.
6. Label the pages: Don’t make your wireframe set messy and chaotic. Label your pages correctly so it will be easier for you and the manager from the provider’s company to discuss the application interface design later.
You may think of some other steps and tips to use while creating wireframes. But the main point always stays the same: think about your users, make the app flow intuitive and remember that the wireframe should give a clear vision of what you want the app to look like.
This important step will allow you to receive a quality mobile application design that meets your goals.
At Smartum Pro, we examine the client’s requirements and conduct market research to determine the target audience of the product. We have an experienced team that can create a mobile application design using your wireframes or creates them for your app from scratch.
They complete all the work on the next stages of the product development. And if you already have an application but it seems out-of-date, you should consider the possibility of redesigning it.