When building a website, we always create at least a handful of wireframes so we can sort out what we’re doing before we really dig in. If you’re not familiar with the concept of a wireframe when it comes to websites, Brooke wrote an excellent post that explains them here.
Beyond the great reasons that she gives for them, though, is that they can save money on your project. There’s an old quote from Frank Lloyd Wright that I love that really speaks well to this:
You can use an eraser on the drafting table or a sledge hammer on the construction site.
If we were to skip the wireframe step of a website and just build it out, changes could certainly still be made later. Those changes are just much more easily made when you’re dragging around empty black boxes instead of a fully-developed website. Plus, it’s hard to just build out pages randomly with out looking at the goal for each page as you sketch out the wireframe.
Speed can be great, but sometimes a bit of preparation will save you more time and money in the long run.
Tony Dye says
Do you have a technology tool you use for wireframes, or is this more of a whiteboard approach? For some of us who have lousy writing/drawing skills, I’m always looking for some way to “design” without using a pencil or marker. (Should I be embarrassed that I often use PowerPoint?)
Mickey Mellen says
We’ve bounced around different tools over the years, and to be honest I’m not even sure what the team is using now. To your point, though, whiteboard or paper can work fine, as could Powerpoint.
Really, you just need some tool that gets out of your way and lets you think through ideas. Wireframes aren’t about polish, but just general user flow and goals. If you’re super comfortable in Powerpoint and can do it that way, I don’t see any reason why that wouldn’t be great!
Teresa Rosche Ott says
Presentation apps like PowerPoint, Apple Keynote and even Google Slides will definitely work.
Most everyone already uses one or the other, so it’s not an extra thing to buy or learn. It’s easy to drag, drop, copy and line up page elements for a neat looking wireframe. Once you create all the types of boxes you need, you’ll be set. And that’s just the thing that leads me to other tools. Too time consuming to create all the elements!
(although I do use Keynote for site maps – works great!)