Why your website is at stage chaos.
November 23, 2016
Why your agency should be showing you wireframes to your website.
The past few years has seen the company you own (or work for) undergo a few changes here and there; whether it is something as small as a few business model tweaks, a new product you added to the portfolio or something as drastic as a corporate identity update. Or maybe you are laying the bricks for your new start-up. Whatever it may be, someone has uttered the famous ‘we should add this to our website’ to you.
So you start up your Google and search for the trendiest, and fanciest digital agency you can find. And with digital communication expanding at such a rapid pace – they really aren’t hard to come by. And before you know it, you’re all up on the interweb and people are scrolling through your fancy website.
And as the months go by you add and subtract some of your content, change things here and there and before you know it your cutting-edge website ends up looking like that untidy cupboard you still plan to tidy up, one day. But you never end up getting around to it. Instead you just keep plonking in more and more until you eventually create an intervention for yourself. Before you hurt yourself, MO Agency may have the answer you are looking for – and it’s a lot simpler than you thought.
What are wireframes?
Website wireframes (and site mapping) arguably fall around step 6 of building (or updating) a website, after deciding the purpose of your website. Wikipedia defines a wireframe as “a visual guide that represents the skeletal framework of a website”. In plain terms, they are the script to your performance or the scaffolding to your structure. And if your kickass digital agency did not show you one complete wireframe for your site design, this may be very well where the adventure took a wrong turn. Do not worry, we understand fully that sometimes the designing process is a lot more fun than actually planning your design.
But why are wireframes so important?
A common term in the design world is ‘content is king’. And this is especially important when both planning and designing your new website. Seeing as your website is arguably your biggest channel of communication to your target market, deciding what content you are adding to your website is extremely important. You want to create a base level form of information architecture that basically ranks your information from the most important to slightly less important. This is where wireframes will really shine through. Although not the prettiest to look at they will provide a visual representation of where your content will sit on your website, on which page and a very rough structure.
What should I look for in the wireframes presented to me?
As mentioned, wireframes should be some lines, text, boxes and sometimes generic icons on a page. Nothing more. They should strictly talk to the content of your website. They should also provide a very rough indication of where imagery and diagrams will be placed throughout your site, after all you do want something that is pleasing to look at too. They should never be detailed enough to dictate the design of your website. Wireframing is strictly focused towards building your websites purpose and bleed into the step of creating visual attraction rather than visual distraction between the building phase.
So how is this actually going to help me and my website?
- There are numerous benefits to setting up a wireframe for your new site, but the most common benefit is that you’re able to comment on wireframe phases and can move things around. Cost-wise, this is great as it is incredibly simple and quick to change wireframes rather than actual designs.
- Your business gets a great overview and indication of where exactly your content will be placed and its structuring. Additionally you are not distracted by visuals as all content is equally weighted in black on white.
- Having a great structure to your website will essentially better the purpose of your web communication channel with a special focus on aligning your content to your target market.
- Wireframes are also key in any information architecture process in the sense that they will easily tidy up your content. Consumers like simplicity. We have all received a form of communication where we have been completely overloaded and then just cannot process what was communicated to us. Your website should be the same, aside from receiving a breathtaking experience, you want your consumers walking away from your website with key knowledge about your business, product or service.
At MO we like to go the extra mile on our wireframes as we are not just a group of creatives that make pretty things. We keep business at the forefront of our strategies. With that being said we always question the probability of a content area expanding (or even decreasing) as your business adapts for the modern world. We wireframe for expansion on each content area, some especially more than others depending on the challenge from our client
Where to after wireframing?
There are a few baby steps your agency will slot in between the wire framing and design process but after you have a wireframe that you are happy with your site is ready to be coloured in. Following your corporate identity and adding rich design elements your agency may have suggested your skeleton will have meat and flesh added to it. A great wireframe will mean little, if any, back and forth between your business and your kickass agency. Without a doubt they will support the designers and developers working on your site with great insight into how things should fall into place, both visually and technically. Overall you will end up dodging a few bullets later down the line as your website adapts for your business and its target market.