This article is for: Startup founders learning how to wireframe software or website concepts and want to know the best wireframe tools available. With this resource you can learn to create wireframes on your own.
Written by: Alex Senson, Ashley Burton, Tyler Boulanger
It may seem boring to sketch out each individual page of your startup’s software product; however, this planning stage is a critical aspect of the development process. In this article, we will describe what a wireframe is, its importance during the design process, and how to wireframe your own product. Additionally, we will identify some key wireframe tools your startup can use throughout the wireframing process.
This article is for startup founders (specifically non-technical founders) who plan on developing a software product. Your startup may have a development team and you need to wireframe the software product before getting far in the design and development process for the following reasons:
- To present the design requirements to the development team
- To collect user feedback prior to development
- To pre-sell the product concept to customers and gauge their interest
- To understand and plan the flow of the software product
- To understand and plan the user’s experience while using the software product
Alternatively, your startup may out-source or sub-contract the work, and you are trying to make sure there is no disconnect between the two parties during the design stage. If your startup is hiring or contracting a development team, make sure that you can efficiently describe the outline of your software product using wireframes to improve the flow of ideas.
Developing a great software product requires a lot of planning and drafting in order to save time and resources in the long run. Your startup not only needs to begin thinking about how the user navigates the page, but also about how information is presented to them.
Use this resource to learn how to wireframe effectively to produce a stellar software product. Ultimately, the goal is that through learning about wireframes your startup will be able to draft the design of the software product cheaply and quickly. The faster that different iterations of the design can come out, the more feedback your startup gets, ensuring that the product created is usable and desired by the user.
Topics to be covered:
- Wireframes – Introduction
- Learn what a wireframe is and its importance during development
- Advantages and Disadvantages of Wireframes
- Identify key advantages and disadvantages of creating a wireframe
- Things to Keep in Mind Before Starting to Wireframe
- Evaluate key user research before starting to wireframe
- How to Wireframe: Hand Drawn or Computer Software
- Identify the differences between the two main methods of wireframing
- What Should be Included in a Wireframe?
- Learn the key elements that should be included in a wireframe
- What Should Not be Included in a Wireframe?
- Familiarize yourself with the elements that should not be included in a wireframe
- Wireframing Tools You Can Use
- Evaluate the different wireframe tools available to startups
- Software Tools to Create Prototypes and Clickable Demos
- Assess the different tools available to create prototypes and clickable demos
- What are Wireframes Trying to Answer?
- Identify the key questions to be asked during the wireframe review process
- What Do You Do After Wireframing?
- Learn what follows wireframing in the software development process
We will illustrate these ideas through case studies of companies and founders who work with Altitude Accelerator
Case Study: Robyn Halbot from Analyticly on using wireframe tools
How to wireframe – introduction
Key Takeaway: Wireframing is creating the basic design of a software product at the structural level. This is done to create and evaluate the navigational structure of the product to receive user feedback.
Your startup cannot simply rush in, begin coding the software product, and focus only on all the graphics and colours that you will use. First, the development team needs to plan out the layout of the software. This process is called wireframing.
Wireframing is a way to design a product at the structural level (Figure 1). This product can be a website, software, or an application.
Designers use wireframes to layout content and functionality for a product’s page or screen, taking into account the user’s needs. Wireframes are used early on to establish a basic structure before visual design and content is added.
Think of wireframes like a blueprint of a building. Wireframes describe clearly and specifically, while giving team members (founders, designers, and developers) an outline of the product. The purpose of a wireframe is to provide a visual understanding early on in the process to get user, stakeholder, and team approval before the creative stage.
When discussing wireframes, individuals within the industry commonly describe other ways that startups can mock-up their software products. These other methods are also used to determine the structure and flow of a product, while improving the user’s experience.
Other ways that startups can mock-up their software product during the design and development stages are:
- Demo — A demo is a demonstration of the product being developed. Demos act as a proof of concept and showcase possible applications without providing any functional or usable elements of the product.
- Clickable demo — A clickable demo takes the demo one step further and adds transition elements. This allows for actual navigation between pages or screens of the software product or website.
- Prototype —A prototype is an interactive visual representation of a product with limited functionality. Prototypes are created to determine if the final product would make sense, and to identify major issues with the design elements.
Clickable demos and prototypes are more complex in comparison to wireframes. As a result, they are completed after the wireframe has been approved to allow for further review of user experience and flow the product provides.
While wireframing, designers create a global and secondary navigation structure to make ensure that the structure and terminology used is representative of user expectations. Additionally, wireframes present the information that would be displayed on the page, and convey the overall direction and description of the user interface.
There are two different types of wireframes that could be created: a low-fidelity, or a high-fidelity wireframe. A low-fidelity wireframe is a simple abstract depiction of the software product’s layout to facilitate communication quickly (Figure 2). High-fidelity wireframes, however, include an increased level of detail with the addition of interactive element actions, and specific dimensions for each content element (Figure 3).
Overall, wireframes act as the middle ground between pen and paper sketches and the first prototype of your startup’s software product. By spending time early in the process sketching the product out, your startup will be able to create a product that is well-designed and based on a lot of user feedback.
How to wireframe for different kinds of products
Key Takeaway: When you are wireframing a website, mobile application, or software product there is no real difference in the methods used. Startups can use the same wireframe tools for each, however, keep in mind how the user will interact with the final product to ensure the wireframe is appropriate.
Wireframing covers the same basic principles regardless of if your startup is designing a website, software product, or application. No matter the context, wireframing allows startups to get a clear idea of how a product will look and function.
Below are some tips to keep in mind when your startup is wireframing for each of the unique product types.
How to wireframe: websites
- Create a wireframe for the mobile and desktop versions of the website
- Ensure the wireframe works for different screen sizes
- Create a wireframe for each individual page of the website
- Use the Justinmind Web Wireframing UI Kit to start designing your website. It contains design elements specific for websites, and pre-arranged ways to display different types of content
How to wireframe: mobile applications
- Keep in mind the platform, iOS or Android, that will be used to run the application
- Ensure the wireframe works for different screen sizes
- Create a wireframe for each individual screen of an application
- Can use the same wireframe tools as software products
How to wireframe: software products
- Remember the industry or the user’s level of software product experience to ensure you are providing the appropriate navigation and user experience
- Ensure the wireframe works for different screen sizes
- Create a wireframe for each individual screen of a software product
- Can use the same wireframe tools as applications
Advantages and disadvantages of wireframes
Key Takeaway: Wireframing takes up a chunk of the design process, one that should not be skipped during development. Creating a wireframe allows for increased user feedback, however, it may be a difficult concept for the user to grasp.
Creating wireframes is an additional stage during the development process that some startups may try to skip in order to progress quicker into development. Below are a list of advantages and disadvantages to consider when deciding whether to create a wireframe.
- Quicker and cheaper to review and change the structure of a wireframe compared to a coded product.
- Early visual for client usability testing.
- Increased confidence in functionality based on user needs and rounds of user feedback.
- Not always easy for the user to grasp the concept due to a lack of design and technical elements.
- Need to translate the wireframe into the final version of the design. As a result, there needs to be documentation regarding why elements are positioned where they are.
- Content may not be able to fit into the wireframe layout. The designer and the copywriter will then need to work together to ensure that they fit together.
Overall, the Altitude Accelerator recommends that startups spend time creating wireframes during the design process. This is because it allows startups to better plan the design work, prior to development progressing to the point where work needs to be redone. Simple wireframe tools allow founders to wireframe products themselves to save money.
Things to keep in mind before starting to wireframe
Key Takeaway: Prior to creating a wireframe, you need to conduct some initial user research. Sit with your team and plan out the purpose of each site page. This will ensure that there is value for the user on every page.
Before your startup begins to wireframe the software product, the team needs to sit down and plan the key aspects of the user’s needs when using the product. The following are some key questions that your startup should be able to answer prior to working on the wireframe:
- Who are the intended users and what are the business goals when interacting with each page of the software product?
- How can the content be organized to support these goals?
- Where should the main message and logo go?
- What should the user see first when arriving at the page?
- Where is the call to action for the user?
- What will the user expect to see on certain areas of the page?
Before drafting up the wireframe, especially if it is the first time for your startup, look at examples of wireframes available online. Looking at wireframe examples is a good method for getting inspiration or some guidance when your startup is just starting out.
How to wireframe: hand drawn or computer software-assisted wireframe tools?
Key Takeaway: Wireframes can be created by hand using a pen and paper or with a whiteboard. Alternatively, designers can use wireframing software to help create their wireframe. Use what is most comfortable for your startup as the wireframe will be revised multiple times.
Paper and pen or whiteboard wireframes are very easy to change, which can help significantly during early conversations about the software product. Use of these wireframes are also cheaper to change compared to a coded version. This is because users can provide feedback at every stage of ideation and design.
Commonly, most startups begin working with hand drawn wireframes before moving onto computer software later in the design process. Switching to software tools later allows startups to track the more detailed decisions easier.
Software based wireframe tools allow for collaboration among team members in different geographical locations. They also let startups keep a detailed record of all wireframe designs. This allows startups to revise previous versions of the wireframe easily if they find the current design not suitable.
Although more expensive than hand-drawn wireframes, software tools can also allow startups to move easier from wireframe to a prototype. A list of recommended software wireframing tools can be found later on in this article.
Startups should use hand-drawn methods or customer software to wireframe depending on what works best for them. Some may prefer to start sketching by hand, while others who are more technically inclined may use software tools. By being comfortable with the wireframe method, your startup will be able to quickly create multiple iterations of wireframes for the software product.
What should be included in a wireframe?
Key Takeaway: Wireframes should be simple in design. This allows users to focus on the navigation of the proposed software product without getting distracted by visual elements.
When creating a wireframe, startups need to stick with a simple design. This allows designers, stakeholders, and users to focus on the navigation of the site. Rather than having all parties focus on the visual elements of the software.
Startups should focus on creating, quickly and cheaply, a wireframe that can be easily edited. This allows startups to create many iterations of the wireframe during the design process.
Startups need to create a simple wireframe design that focuses on the navigation of the proposed software. This ensures that all user feedback provided is centered around whether the proposed design is valuable and intuitive to the user.
Design elements that should be included within a wireframe:
- Simple design to minimize distractions
- Rectangles and squares with an “X” inside to show where an image will be. A play button symbol can be added for a video.
- Greyscale colour scheme
- Maximum of two generic fonts (1 serif and 1 sans-serif)
- Depiction of content hierarchy by using varying font sizes and styles
- All screens should have a clear purpose and way to satisfy the user’s needs
- Clear calls-to-action to allow for easy navigation
Below is an example of a well-designed wireframe that contains design elements (Figure 4). From looking at the wireframe, users can easily see the navigation present within the page.
Squares and rectangles were used to showcase where images will be placed. This allows users to provide feedback regarding the placement, and if there are too many or too few images on the page.
The wireframe is created in greyscale to ensure there are no visual distractions from the use of colour. Clear navigation was also displayed through the use of boxes showing what new page would be accessed if the user click on the box.
A consistent font is used throughout the wireframe allowing for easy reading. Additionally, the hierarchy of information was displayed using different font sizes. This allows for a simplistic design showcasing the most important elements of the page.
Overall, this is an example of a well-designed wireframe. It focuses more on the navigational structure of the software page, rather than its visual appearance.
When creating a wireframe make sure that your startup is including the above design elements. This will ensure that the wireframe created consists of just the basic navigational and content elements to receive sufficient user feedback on the design.
What should not be included in a wireframe?
Key Takeaway: Wireframes should not be created containing visual design elements such as colour and graphics. This distracts from the purpose of a wireframe, and startups end up spending too much money on something that will be revised.
When first learning how to wireframe, startups may be tempted to start adding lots of colour and graphics. An early wireframe, however, is not the time to think of these design elements.
Wireframes are used to plan out the design. They are to be created quickly and cheaply as there will be many iterations of the wireframe during this process.
Startups do not need to waste time making a wireframe look attractive if they are just going to redo it the following week. Instead, use these resources to conduct user research and testing to ensure that the design being developed is appropriate for the user
Design elements that should not be included within a wireframe:
- Complicated design with lots of distractions
- Flashy graphics and images
- Use of colour
- Multiple fonts or use of non-generic fonts
- Non-consistent use of font size and style to show hierarchy
Below is an example of a poorly designed wireframe that contains many elements that should not be there (Figure 5). Just looking at this example notice how you are immediately evaluating the visual design elements rather than the navigational or functional elements. This is exactly what you do not want!
The wireframe is covered in distractions! The use of multiple colours is confusing to the user as now everything stands out.
Using different fonts is also confusing, and the user ends up just asking why? Additionally, the heading for the page is smaller than the next bullet of text. This leads to user confusion about what the main topic of the page is.
The addition of images on the wireframes can lead to the user to ask questions regarding why they were selected. Additionally, users could begin to focus on why such generic images were chosen for this page.
Overall, this is an example of a poorly designed wireframe. It focuses more on the visual appearance of the software page, rather than the navigational structure.
When creating a wireframe make sure that your startup is not including the above design elements. This will ensure that the wireframe created consists of just the basic navigational and content elements to receive sufficient user feedback on the design.
Wireframe tools to help you learn how to wireframe your product
Key Takeaway: There are many tools available that assist startups in creating wireframes. Evaluate the technical level of your team, and how many wireframe projects your startup will be conducting while determining a tool to use.
The type of wireframe tools used depends on the startup and stage of design the team is on. A centrally located design team can map out a basic wireframe quickly on a whiteboard during a one hour meeting. A distributed team, however, needs to be able to create a wireframe digitally and have it be easily shared between multiple collaborators.
As a startup founder, you do not even need to have much design background to be able to use the majority of these tools. By yourself you can create a wireframe in order to get early user feedback before your product enters the development stage.
Below is a list of all the different wireframe tools available to startups. These tools can be used by both technical and non-technical individuals. These tools are ordered for most recommended, to least recommend for startups.
Wireframe tools: Balsamiq
Balsamiq is the best wireframing tool available for beginners. As a result, Balsamiq is the most commonly used wireframing tool amongst startups working with the Altitude Accelerator.
Balsamiq is good for creating quick sketches wireframe. This tool uses a grid system to allow users to see the distance and symmetry between design elements. Balsamiq allows users to create wireframes without having to learn complex tools. Overall, it allows startups to look a little more professional than just creating a wireframe on scrap paper.
|Platform:||macOS, Windows, web browser|
|Cost:||$89 for desktop application. Cloud subscription starts at $9/month for two projects|
|Positives:||Easy-to-use drag-and-drop builder. Can be used to illustrate how the wireframe will look on various screen sizes|
|Negatives:||Primitive for more advanced wireframing needs. Difficult to use when multiple designers need to review the wireframe|
Wireframe tools: InVision Freehand
InVision Freehand is a web-based wireframing tool that is great for coloration on a whiteboard-like canvas. This tool is the most basic of all the ones recommended. As a result, it is best for startups who like to do it all by hand where all members can contribute and revise together.
InVision Freehand is part of the InVision suite so the wireframe created using this program can be uploaded into prototype design software during the later stages of development. This saves time when moving on to the next stage of development without having to start from scratch each time.
|Cost:||Free for one project, starter is $15/month for three projects|
|Positives:||Cloud-based so multiple people can view and edit the wireframe at the same time. Offers real-time syncing to Sketch and Photoshop to allow the team to draw and annotate onto the polished prototypes|
|Negatives:||Comments can be lost if the wireframe is altered significantly. The arranging behaviour of boards incorrectly alters itself when you move a single image, resulting in wasted time having to correct image locations|
Wireframe tools: Sketch
Sketch is the best wireframe tool available when you want to pass the created wireframe off to a third-party application. Sketch, a lightweight design tool, which is simple and intuitive compared to Adobe Illustrator. The tool allows uses to quickly create wireframes with artboards and vector design shapes.
Following wireframe creation, users can export the full design or individual elements. Additionally, users can integrate Sketch with tools further down in the design process. For example, it can be integrated with prototyping applications like Principle, Farmer, and Marvel.
|Cost:||$99/year (after a year you still get to use it but you will not receive updates)|
|Positives:||Lots of integrated plugins which allows different teams to communicate easily|
|Negatives:||Small glitches are common (for example, font colours will not change, and lags). It’s a desktop application so collaboration can be difficult. Users cannot work on a design file simultaneously.|
Wireframe tools: Marvel
Marvel is a wireframing tool that consists primarily of pre-designed wireframe templates. These templates allow for easy wireframing for non-technical team members.
Marvel offers interactive prototyping and code handoff. Additionally, team members can be invited to collaborate and comment on the wireframe.
|Cost:||Free for one user and two projects, from $12/month for the Pro plan that includes one user and unlimited projects|
|Positives:||Can compile a team library of design elements that can be snagged easily throughout the process|
|Negatives:||Does not have a lot of tools to create high-fidelity wireframes. Users will need to go over to Sketch to create a more polished user interface design.|
Wireframe tools: Adobe Photoshop
Adobe Photoshop is an advanced pixel-based design software that can be used to create high detail wireframes. Photoshop is not a tool created specifically for wireframing, its main purpose is photo editing.
Startups should only use Adobe Photoshop if there are members of the team that have significant technical background in using the tool. Startups should instead use a tool that was created specifically for wireframing, such as Balsamiq.
|Platform:||macOS, Windows, iOS|
|Cost:||$9.99/month for the creative cloud photography plan that includes access to Lightroom|
|Positives:||Easily create high-fidelity wireframes without switching design systems|
|Negatives:||Steep learning curve Difficult to hand over the design specifications to the development team. Startups would need to use a prototyping tool that can import Photoshop files.|
Wireframe tools: Moqups
Moqups is a HTML5 based platform that is best used for creating wireframing interaction design flows. This tool builds upon the basic flowchart as a wireframe concept.
Moqups utilizes drag and drop features that allow for quick and easy wireframing. Overall, however, this tool does not stand out significantly against all the other wireframing competition.
|Cost:||From $13/month (billed annually) for the personal plan that includes unlimited projects for a single user|
|Positives:||Many templates available to help start the design process Real-time collaboration|
|Negatives:||Hard to navigate when users first start. Does not have a large library of elements available so users need to make specific elements by hand if needed.|
Additionally, Ant Design could be used when creating a wireframe without using a specific software tool. Ant Design houses a collection of user interface design elements, and related code, which can be used easily added to different elements of the wireframe.
Wireframe software needs to be simple with easy-to-move elements that allow for quick changes. This provides startups the ability to iterate, and get lots of user feedback prior to the creation of a prototype. By remaining simple, technical and non-technical members of the startup team will be able to create a wireframe.
How to create prototypes and clickable demos: software tools to get started
Key Takeaway: There are many different prototyping software tools available to startups. Commonly, there are ways to connect the wireframing tools used to the later prototyping tool in order to prevent any development lags.
After your startup has created a wireframe using the previously mentioned wireframing software tool, the development team can begin to create a prototype or clickable demo. There are different software tools available that can be used to create these prototypes and clickable demos.
Below is a list of all the different prototyping and clickable demo tools available to startups. These tools can be used by both technical and non-technical individuals. These tools are ordered from most recommended, to least recommend for startups.
InVision is the most well-known and widely used prototyping software available. It allows startups to quickly and easily create great prototypes to show their users and stakeholders.
Startups only need to upload the wireframed design and turn the static screen into a fully clickable prototype. This is done by adding transitions and gestures.
Users and team members can easily give their feedback directly on the prototype through the Smooth Management feature. Additionally, new prototyping features are added constantly to help improve the prototyping process.
Marvel is another clickable prototyping tool available to startups. Screens from wireframing tools can be uploaded directly to the program. Likewise, images from Photoshop and Sketch can be uploaded as well.
These designs can be linked together in order to create a navigation structure. The addition of transitions and gestures can then be done to make the prototype seem more real. Projects can then be shared to get real-time comments and feedback from users and other team members.
Keynote is a very simple prototyping tool that requires no programming skills to use it. This tool is perfect if your startup needs to create a prototype quickly; however, it is outdated compared to other technologies available
Startups can upload screenshots from Sketch into the program onto a slide. Startups can then simulate actual buttons on the slide and add links throughout to connect one slide to another. It is similar to working on Microsoft Powerpoint.
Craft CMS has a collection of plugins that allow startups to prototype in Sketch and Photoshop. Artboards can be linked together using interactive hotspots in order to create a clickable prototype.
Craft can then be used to send the created prototypes to InVision software. This allows for collaborative feedback on the newly designed prototype.
Commonly, any prototyping software available involves loading the wireframe design of your startup’s software product onto the program. Startups then need to define hotspots and pick what types of gestures should be used to trigger them.
Altitude Accelerator Case Study: Using tools to create a wireframe at Analyticly with Robyn Halbot
Analyticly is a stand-alone application where companies can upload their data and receive high quality insights and recommendations that were generated using machine learning. During the creation of this application, Balsamiq and Ant Design were the two main wireframing tools that were used.
Analyticly reviewed screen layouts of their competitor’s products during their design stage of product development. Balsamiq was then used to create wireframes for each individual screen of the application based on the inspiration gained from reviewing other products, as well as the company’s own design plans. Balsamiq was selected by Analytically because it is an easy to use tool that can be used by non-technical personal to create simple wireframes.
Ant Design was also used within Analyticly to quickly create a functional mock-up in a pinch that was provided to developers. Ant Design provides startups, specifically founders with limited technical knowledge or developers that are right out of undergrad, the ability to create a functional mock-up to communicate their ideas effectively. Ant Design also provides you with the code for each design element included within the mock-up so startups can copy and paste it into the Integrated Development Environment (IDE) being used.
Balsamiq and Ant Design were used together by Analyticly to create a basic prototype by themselves. The wireframe created by Balsamiq and the design elements selected within Ant Design were used to plan out and design a prototype based on the needs of the users and the required functional elements. Overall, these tools were used together to create a prototype cheaply on their own, compared to outsourcing all the work during early stages of the product’s development.
Developers are very visual, so the completed wireframes that include a plan of all the elements found on each screen of the software product are essential for the development process. When a wireframe is created, it can be used to evaluate different structure layout options of the product as well as how they all connect together. This predetermined plan can then be communicated with developers so that they know exactly what functional elements are required and where they are to be placed on the screen. “A collection of screenshots and wireframes are essentially a list of your startup’s plans. During a planning session break down the mock-up into individual tasks to create a Statement of Work (SOW) for any outsourced work. We put all the individual tasks onto a Trello board, a project and task management product, so it is easy to see progress within the development project,” says Robyn Halbot, Co-Founder and CEO of Analyticly.
Overall, the use of Balsamiq and Ant Design were used to create a mock-up for the company’s software product. These wireframing tools were used to design the product at a structural level. Following the completion of the wireframes, Analyticly used the wireframes to create a detailed plan for their developers to use throughout the development process.
What are wireframes trying to answer?
Key Takeaway: Ensure that your startup is collecting sufficient user feedback in order to answer key questions about the developed wireframe. Make sure to question if the navigation is appropriate, and if all the users’ needs and expectations have been met.
Wireframes are used in order to iterate quickly to assess the proposed design of a software product. Through this process, user feedback will be collected in an effort to improve the design.
The following are some of the common questions that your startup should be trying to answer during the wireframing process:
- What navigation categories and interaction mechanisms were most appropriate for the user?
- Do the page structure, navigation, and workflows
on the wireframe:
- present information that the users want and expect?
- present information in a way where users can easily find what they need?
- use labels users will readily understand?
- allow users to easily and accurately predict the outcomes of their actions?
- Is the proposed interactive behaviour and related page functionality suitable?
- Is the design feasible to build given your startup’s current constraints (time, budget, personnel)?
- Does the visual hierarchy and organization of the content on each page of the software make sense?
- How much of what is on the page is relevant to the user’s task?
- What is present on the page that is completely unrelated and extraneous? Can that content be removed or relocated?
While collecting user feedback for each wireframe iteration, make sure that your startup is focusing on the above questions. This ensures that from multiple iterations your startup will be able to create the best possible product for your users.
What do you do after wireframing?
Key Takeaway: Following wireframing, users review and provide feedback on the wireframe before it is revised. Once the wireframe is approved, startups move onto creating more detailed mock-ups and prototypes prior to handing the design off to a developer.
Wireframes are fast, cheap, and impermanent. Following their creation, wireframes are meant to change as startups gather information through user research and stakeholder input.
Gather user feedback and create multiple iterations of the wireframe. At this stage, users commonly pay more attention to the functionality of the software and user experience rather than the aesthetic characteristics of the on-screen elements.
As a result, startups commonly get much more feedback at this stage then with a fully developed prototype. This allows startups to ensure that they create the best possible product for their users.
After the iterations of wireframes have been completed, startups then move on to the development of a mock-up. This mock-up is commonly considered a more visual representation of the developed software product.
After the mock-up has been created and user validated, startups then move onto prototyping. This is the last stage of the design work before it is handed off to the developers. From here, you’ll want to create your functional minimum viable product.
Conclusion: How to wireframe and what wireframe tools you can use
Creating a wireframe allows startups to plan screen or page layouts and interaction patterns of the users. This is all done without introducing the distracting details of colours and graphics. Wireframes should have clear navigation that does not require the use of colour, shading, and fancy menus to make sense.
Wireframes serve as a common language between designers, users, stakeholders, and developers. They are created in a way that is complex enough to inform everyone. And simple enough to not get complicated by too much detail or design language.
Overall, wireframes allow startups to thoroughly review and plan a design before beginning software development. This will prevent startups from wasting resources and time on designs that are not suitable for the desired user. Just sit down with the design team and sketch out some ideas about how the software product will be designed.
Ultimately, wireframing allows startups to really plan out the navigation and layout of their software. The more planning that startups put in at the start of the process ensures that by the end of the development process they will have a stellar product on their hands.
Congratulations! You have now learned about wireframing and how startups should use it during the design stage of software development. After reading this article you should have learned the following key concepts:
- Wireframes can be created in different ways, such as on whiteboards or using software tools.
- Focus on the navigation structure of the software, not its visual appearance.
- Present the content in the wireframe in an intuitive and natural way to ensure the users can easily understand the software.
- Balsamiq is the most recommended wireframing software tool for startups.
- InVision is the most recommended prototyping software tool for startups.
- Do not commit to a wireframe! They are made to go through multiple iterations.