There is an awful lot that goes into successful websites. There is the design, which is all the pretty things you see on each page. There is the copy, often carefully crafted and considered at every turn; good design will make friends with great copy early on. Then you have the user journey which considers where you want your user to go on the site, depending on their wants and needs, and let’s not forget the user journey’s BFF – the functional specification. The functional specification takes point on making sure all the nuts and bolts and practical elements of the website do as they’re told.
None of these are possible without the humble wireframe. A wireframe never looks like much and because of this, it is often overlooked and under-appreciated. But there is no escaping its importance in making a website come together. First off, think about a website’s site navigation – it doesn’t happen by accident. A wireframe helps to frame an idea, to trial certain ways of getting around the website and, crucially, to ensure that all the key pages can be found easily and quickly from the home page and beyond.
It doesn’t end there though. A wireframing process will help the copywriter think of where copy should play its part. A good wireframe will give the copywriter rules and boundaries to content and where to place calls to action. This in turn means that later down the line, you don’t have to worry about cramming oodles and oodles of copy into already developed pages.
You can build on wireframes a little later into the development stage as well. Scope is ever changing and a wireframe can help you navigate these changes and talk about them as you’re doing it. It’ll save massively on time when everything is in development.
Of course, you do get to a point where wireframes serve their purpose and lead into design and then development, but you will always need them as a reference point. Not every single page needs a wireframe, but every website needs them. As simple as they look, they really do help with all the complicated stuff you have to navigate within web development.