Creating wireframes for websites is an essential part of the web design process. And, likely, you've never even heard of them. They are the foundation of the entire design phase. Without them, it would be extremely challenging to design a high-quality website efficiently the way our clients would want.

With wireframes, your web designer can quickly mock-up and then iterate on the initial design to bring it closer to how you want it. They also allow for seamless collaboration, which is especially important if the client is writing the website copy or a large team is involved.

So, what exactly are website wireframes? Rest assured; we'll break down exactly what they are and how they benefit your web design project in this article.

What is a Website Wireframe?

Wireframes for websites serve as an outline of the design and layout of the website. Think of them as the architectural blueprints of a building. Moreover, just like you wouldn't want to start constructing a building without blueprints, you don't want to start developing a website without wireframes.

Wireframes are created during the design phase once the client has signed off on the strategy/design brief. They allow a web designer to quickly mock up the structure of the website and communicate the design to the client.

Source: Mockplus

With wireframes, it is much easier to nail down the structure of each web page and the content that will need to be included on them. That's because wireframes start out as a barebones representation of what the website will become. Creating wireframes for websites allows you to focus on the foundational elements of a website.

Wireframes let both the client and the designer get a high-level overview of the website. It establishes a site map so you can see how all the web pages work together to create a website that furthers your business objectives.

As you will learn below, wireframes are essential for creating a productive workflow. With them, your web design project will be much more organized and well thought out.

Best of all, this saves you money at the end of the day.

Low Fidelity vs. High Fidelity Wireframes

Low fidelity and high fidelity are terms used to describe how detailed the website wireframes are. Low fidelity wireframes have less detail in them, while high fidelity wireframes have more detail.

Our typical workflow at Inbound Web Development is to start with a low fidelity wireframe. We outline the structure of all the web pages on the site and include placeholders for things such as icons and images.

Wireframes for Websites
High fidelity wireframes from a recent project of Inbound Web Development

Once we've gotten client approval on the layout and sections of each page, then we gradually start adding in more detail. We start writing the website copy, gather creative assets such as images and videos, and implement the brand colors. We hold several meetings with our clients to present our work. We take in their feedback and improve on the design until we have a high fidelity wireframe that represents the final website.

This workflow ensures we have thought through every decision, and everything on the site serves a purpose. Implementing this professional web design process creates a roadmap for each project that dramatically improves the odds of success.

How Wireframes for Websites Improve Workflow

Hopefully, you see why wireframes for websites are so valuable. Not only do they help ensure the project is successful, but they dramatically improve the process for creating a website.

As the client, this makes your life much easier. You will get the website you want faster and at a lower cost, all while being less stressed throughout the entire project.

Faster Iteration

The beauty of wireframes lies in the fact that they allow a web designer to quickly mockup a design without having to write a single line of code. That saves you time and money.

Without wireframes, a designer/developer would have to spend hours coding a website before sending it over to the client. Since that would be the first time the client sees the page, they would likely want significant revisions.

The developer would then have to go back and recode the website based on client feedback. Coding a website can be very time consuming, and without wireframes, this process would repeat multiple times.

As you can probably see, this would result in a much longer design process. And ultimately, that would increase the cost of the project and delay its completion.

Handwritten wireframes

Handwritten wireframes are good for quickly sketching out ideas early. However, by creating wireframes for websites, you can avoid all of that extra work.

After all, it is much easier to draw some basic shapes with software like Adobe XD or Figma than it is to code a website in the backend of WordPress.

Improved Collaboration

Web Design projects require a lot of collaboration. Creating wireframes for websites makes collaboration easy. New wire-framing tools make it super easy to get client feedback and collaborate on web design projects. This is especially important if the client is helping to write the website copy. For example, with Adobe XD or Figma we can easily share the wireframes by sending a link over to our client for review.

We can also give them edit access, which is especially helpful if they want to jump in and help write the website copy. There's also the ability to add comments, similar to Google Docs.

Even more, we can record a video of the wireframes with a voice-over explaining our design decisions and thought process. That way we can send over a video file to our clients, and once they've reviewed it, they can give us a call with their feedback. No more back and forth trying to set up a meeting that accommodates everyone's busy schedule.

All of this makes collaborating on the wireframes for the website a breeze. Combined with the technical advantages of using wireframes, they are a no brainer to use during the web design process.

No Surprises

The best part about wireframes for websites is that once it is complete, you already know what your site will look like. Once you approve the final design, then it's on your designer/developer to get it coded and live on the internet. That gives you the final sign off as to what your website looks like in the end. If you had your website coded from the start, you would have no idea what it would look like until it was already complete.

Also, then you would be boxed in. Coding takes time and is labor-intensive. So unless you were willing to wait and payout more money, you wouldn't be able to make significant changes to the design.

Bailey Canning is an advertising professional from New Jersey currently living in Boulder, Colorado. He started Inbound Web Development to work directly with businesses to create conversion focused websites & innovative digital marketing campaigns.