Wireframes are blueprints for your screen designs. Primarily it is used for defining the information hierarchy of the design. This makes planning the layout process easier and in accordance with how you want users to process the information.
It is also very useful in formulating how the user is going to interact with the interface. Wireframes do contain how various states of button or menu behaves.
So now that you get an idea of how wireframes are useful here is something to indulge upon.
Importance of Wireframe tools
You might have guessed by now that wireframes come handy to represent a visual conceptualization of the designer’s thoughts. With the help of wireframes, designers can turn an abstract, hard to comprehend flowchart, into something easily understandable for the client.
Apart from this, here are some other ways how wireframing comes in handy for web designers:
1. Wireframes clarify the elements of the website
All your clients are not going to technically literate as you are and might not understand what you mean by “product filtering,” “new feed,” etc. A wireframe will enable secure communication on how these features will add functionality and usefulness to their site.
How knows, your clients might get so satisfied that they are going to keep your number on speed dial.
2. You can identify the sites ease for updates
Clients, who buy content management systems (CMS), find Wireframes to be quite useful. A Wireframe will quickly show how the site will respond to growth from, say 100 products to 500 products.
Wireframes will show if the site can accommodate for such growth or if some tweaking is required to maintain the site design and functionality.
3. It saves time on the overall project process
If the designing team is using a wireframe first to conceptualize the entire design process, then the whole team falls onto the same track. The entire project becomes well calculated, and each team member knows exactly what they are assigned to build.
Using Wireframe tools helps to avoid hacks in the later stage of the process and in turn save time.
Now that we have got an idea of the usefulness of wireframe tools let’s take a look at some of the best wireframe tools out there.
7 Top WireFrame Tool
If you keep things rough and low fidelity, then this will bring in more feedback; this is the philosophy driving Balsamiq Mockups.
The wireframe also contains many drag-drop elements like buttons, lists, etc. each of these is styled as hand drawings and hence the “rough and low fidelity” part.
The software is supported by Mac, Linux, and Windows operating systems as well on the Web.
It will cost you: $79
Mockingbird helps you create, link and share wireframes of your website or application. It is based on the Cappuccino framework.
The UI is spotless and user-friendly. There are drag drop elements, interactive page linking text resizing. There is also built-in ability to share mockups with clients with a direct link.
The software is web-based and hence can be accessed from anywhere.
Mockingbird is a free to use.
Firework CS6 is like a lightweight Photoshop for WebPages. It provides an efficient way for creating graphics for the web page without getting too engrossed in heavy coding.
The colors, fonts and corner radii can be extracted so styles put into the practice can be duplicated in the final build. There are also various symbols and templates to help make a wireframe quickly.
The software is supported on Windows and Mac OS.
It will cost you: $299, but there is a free trial
More than wireframing, Visio will prove to helpful in the technical aspect. The software comes with add-on capabilities like Swipr, which will help you extract a usable HTML prototype you have found in the wireframe.
The software is entirely professional but clunky. Then again if you are accustomed to other products from Microsoft, then Visio will fit right in your comfort zone.
The software is made to run on Windows OS exclusively
It will cost you: $600(approx)
Axure will come with a library of drag-drop interface elements. There are also functionalities to add multiple pages and layers. Again features can be added to the layers leading to an interactive prototype.
The wireframe will provide various UI elements in the form of widgets as well as sitemaps. The app design can also be viewed on a phone with the provided share functionality.
The software will run on Mac and Windows OS
It will cost you: $289
Now some of you may be working purely on an iPad design. In that case, penultimate is your choice of software.
It allows you to sketch out ideas directly within the device. This method ensures that the end product is in the right ratio and well-sized active areas.
The sketches and ideas made can be easily saved and sent to clients for viewing.
The software is for the iPad.
It is a free software and can be download from iTunes.
Much like most of the wireframes in this list, Gliffy too has a drag-drop UI. You also get access to a complete library of shapes and useful elements.
You can add boxes, buttons, lines and even text to anywhere on the page. This helps to create a clear and summarizing mockup.
You can also import logos and backgrounds you created (without this software), and add it to the diagram.
Apart from this with Gliffy, you can collaborate with anyone on any platform irrelevant of location. All the while you have the ability to protect and monitor all changes that are being done.
Apart from wireframing, Gliffy will also be useful to create flow charts, floor plans, business process, network diagrams, etc.
Gliffy is a web-based software.
It is entirely free to use
Over To You
Wireframing is quite significant in the works of web designing but seldom used. The reason it is avoided that it takes up time, but it pays off in the long run.
If you look at some well established and successful web designers, they too are going to recommend wireframing in the design process.
So we hope this wireframes will help you in your designing process. Again if you think that we missed on some good wireframes that should have been on the list then mention them down in the comments.