If you’re thinking about stepping into the world of web design, wire-framing is a step that you just can’t miss. Wireframes are the foundation for websites of any shape or size, allowing you to absolutely nail your design from the start.
Wireframes essentially allow you to sketch out a scrap of an idea, beginning as a rough outline and developing into a near-perfect prototype. They are a fantastic way of planning the usability and structure of your products, aiding positive user experience.
What exactly is a wireframe?
Wireframes are basically the blueprint for a house. Before any construction begins, a blueprint is drawn up – providing a technical, structural outline that maps out a house’s frame and proportions. We can apply the same logic to building a website. Rather than jumping from a scribbled idea on a loose Post-It note to a daunting, high-tech website construction, we can employ wireframing tools as a sort of middleman.
Essentially, wireframes are black-and-white layouts. They are stripped of personality and allow you to understand the fundamentals of your website. These frames outline the placement and size of all website specifics: navigation, page elements, and site features.
Why do I need a wireframe?
Most importantly, a wireframe ensures the simplicity of your website, particularly in terms of usability. Wireframing allows you to get your message across accurately and in an easy-to-use format. It is essential to the design process that you cultivate a solid interface structure.
Wireframing is not just for IT graduates. It is completely tech-newbie-friendly that allows for flawless end results, most importantly eliminating arduous modifications later down the track. They are colour-free, code-free, trouble-free glimpses of your dream website made incredibly easy.
So, what makes a good wireframe?
A large part of wireframe tools is User Interface (UI). This is the process used to build an interface in software. UI has a particular focus on image and style.
- An element of a good wireframe tool can include an in-built UI kit or is capable of easily uploading one.
- They might include collaborative working
- Simple export options
- Scalable mock-up fidelity
- A focus on content placement and user flows rather than design and aesthetics.
- Supply thorough instructions for developers
There are many software out there that can help you build a good wireframe. We have picked a few that have some very good wireframe features that can help you build wireframes with ease.
For our first pick, Visily is an incredibly straightforward, easily accessible wireframe tool packed with every feature you could need. We can’t help but agree with the website’s slogan – ‘design stunning app wireframes at light speed’ – because it really is that simple.
The most impressive aspect has to be that the site is completely free of charge. Eventually, the site will begin to introduce paid plans, but they guarantee there will always be a free version and for now, everything is absolutely free.
Visily allows its users to create both basic and advanced wireframes and prototypes, providing tools for all necessities. Visily also stands out for its ease of use, branding itself as a sort of wireframe tool for dummies. Its simplicity does not however take away from its comprehensive abilities, positioning itself as one of the best in the industry.
Visily includes built-in templates, smart components, icon set, stock image integration, and code inspection. Additionally, you can utilize their AI design assistant, generating mockups simply from hand-drawn sketches and screenshots. The site enables teams of any shape and size to easily brainstorm and generate beautiful, straightforward app wireframes.
Visily is equipped with an incredibly rich UI library, saving excess time and money on outsourcing. Their intuitive interface and advanced AI features have helped non-designers to bring their ideas to life. They enable the not-so-tech-savvy through pre-built themes and templates, an easy-as-ever ‘drag and drop function’, and a large library of components that you can customize on your own.
Visily allows for incredible results with minimal effort, money, and experience, allowing you to produce a completely personalised and specific professional mock-up in minutes.
PRICE : Free
Figma is another great option when deciding on wireframe tools. Figma is a straight- forward, easy-to-follow design program with clearly outlined and one-of-a-kind features. These include their modern pen tool allowing you to draw in any direction, instant arc designs where you can design clocks, watch screens, pie charts and OpenType, which holds an excellent range of font features.
Figma excels with its Auto Layout feature, meaning you can spend more time iterating your brand, and less time being technical. This means less manual resizing, stretch-to-fill abilities, and an automatic translation of direction and spacing settings into code. When it comes to handing off your product, this step makes things a lot easier.
All of Figma’s organisation is held in one simple panel, meaning the process of moving things around is simple. Creating dartboards, texts, and basic shapes is easy, as is the majority of the program.
Figma’s only downside is that it does not come with a built-in UI, but it does allow you to upload your own, meaning you will have to outsource for this step.
PRICE: Free version
Figma Professional – $12 per editor/month
Figma Organisation – $45 per editor/month (most comprehensive)
Adobe XD is made to fit in conjunction with other Adobe products, (illustrator, photoshop, fonts, and stock). Although Adobe XD is not exactly beginner-friendly, it is equipped with countless instructions and tutorials. Results from Adobe XD are consistently high quality, allowing enormous creative freedom for professional designers.
Adobe XD’s best features include prototyping, responsive design, vectors, collaboration, and extensive integrations. The program is fast, efficient and offers extensive support. It also includes a repeat grid option, auto animation, and voice triggers, setting itself above its competitors.
Although the program’s interface is different from other Adobe products, it has the same tools and shortcuts meaning the software is easy to use.
From $9.99 per month or $52.99 as part of Creative Cloud
Lucidchart is another consistently good option. It is great for non-designers, working on any computer with a web browser and even includes an offline mode. It is equipped with convenient, foolproof tools and a variety of templates.
Lucidchart offers both a free version and several paid plans, meaning the program is accessible to everyone. Most importantly, no matter your ability, Lucid Chart helps you to publish a professional-looking website.
Collaboration tools are also included, meaning you can collaborate with others at any level. These abilities allow you to decide if your invitee can edit, share, comment, or only view your content, leaving the dynamics of your collaboration up to you. It works the same kind of way as google docs, in that when someone has the file open, everyone else can see. This facilitates live discussion and commentary.
Lucidchart is a great choice for data visualisation and diagramming. They have a simple drag-and-drop function, and include a full UI library. These include search boxes, text editors, and site map icons. It includes a bonus presentation mode meaning you can go to the next step in visualising your final product.
PRICE: Basic free version
Individual – From $12 per month
Team – From $14 per month
Sketch is an incredibly detailed and technical tool, helpful for accurate and foolproof products. Sketch is fast, easy to use, and works with a lot of other tools.
Sketch indeed revolutionised what could be done with wireframing tools, with a specific focus on creating effective UIs and icon vector design. Sketch has a standout symbol function that allows you to create that automatically repeat throughout your layout.
Although Sketch lacks a comprehensive collaboration tool like some of its competitors, there is an option to purchase Sketch for Teams, allowing you to take collaboration to the next level. With this, you can provide feedback, share prototypes and designs, and collaborate with your whole team in a single workspace.
Sketch includes an intuitive interface, a low learning curve and works well with Illustrator assets. While the program doesn’t come with a UI library, there is an enormous range of kits that you can easily import into the program. Additionally, the program is Mac only, and there are no automatic layout flowing options.
Sketch includes a free trial allowing you to get a grip of the program before committing to a one- off fee. This is a great feature compared to many other tools which require a monthly or annual prescription. Once you purchase, however, Sketch will only allow you to use one device per license.
PRICE: Free trial, then $99
There are many good wireframe tools out there and these are just some of the many. Each wireframe tool has their strengths and weaknesses so it may be worth testing the tools on their free plan before buying it (if they have one). If they don’t have a free plan, you can buy the tool for a month to test before opting for a longer period as they often have yearly subscription plans which give you a discount.