The Right way to use Wireframes

Wireframes are an important resource in your development map.

Many UX and graphic designers create wireframes when drafting out their initial designs. These can also be useful visual aids for showing to clients for feedback. It can help for them to have something concrete to improve and wireframes can often be used as blueprints to build ideas on. There are many benefits to wireframes, but it is important that wireframes are used in the right way. There is no point in using wireframes if they become a barrier to the client rather than helping you move the project forward.

Wireframe Fidelity
The right fidelity of wireframe changes in every project. To decide this, think first about the aims you would like to achieve in your project. If the fidelity level is too high, then the client will think that the design is almost complete and may be anxious to tell you his or her true opinion. On the other hand, if the wireframe is too bare, this can also mean that the client cannot truly imagine how the website design should look. In most cases, you should advise your client about what feedback you want from them and what they should focus on. There is no point in them focusing on the color of your wireframe, if this is something that is irrelevant in the beginning of a project. Some of the things I like to fix first are the information architecture, layout and navigation, for example.

Specification Documents
If you are working as a freelancer, it can be a great benefit to create specification documents including wireframes. This means you can take screenshots of your wireframes, including annotations and send this to your client in PDF form. Once you are in agreement about the content of the website design, you can then begin programming if this is one of the services you provide. This document will protect you from having to make last-minute changes to your work if these are not included in a formal contract and your client should also feel more comfortable, as they also have a way of proving what the stipulation of the contract is, even if they themselves are not knowledgeable about technical specifications.
Wireframes can be a great resource in any project, especially when working with external clients. From my experience, it is important to educate the client on the type of feedback you would like from them before you show them any wireframes. Getting the level of detail right is also important. If you are working for a new client, creating specification documents can be a great way of providing yourself and your client with a form of security. If they do not agree to your initial specification documents, see this as a positive. This means you have avoided wasted time and money by communicating the requirements earlier. Wireframes should not just be used because it is expected of you, but rather for the extra value they bring to a project. Most importantly this is the ability to demonstrate clearly what you and your client visualize from a project to ensure that the design and business requirements fit together.

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