In today’s society, apps and websites abound. With all the numbers, programming languages, and other technical things associated with the websites that we use every day, it can seem intimidating for anyone with an idea for a website, app, or even a business endeavor. It seems that most businesses have established some sort of web-presence and it is in many ways expected. Nick Holzherr is one entrepreneur with this attitude. On the official site of his startup Whisk, it lists benefits, such as “reduce waste” and “save and find inspiration for recipes”. Holzherr’s is just one of many new startups who are trying to make their way in the business world, and a website will play a key role in this. This is why many, startups and seasoned businesses opt for wireframe tools.
Overview of Wireframe tools
A wireframe tool (sometimes called a mockup tool or a prototyping tool) is used to draft the interface design of a website. The prototypes are then sent to web developers. This can have many benefits. Often wireframe tools can speed up the iteration process of a website design and some tools even enable online collaboration. Before wireframe tools were commonplace, web developers would receive a basic design through a specifications document detailing the features and functions of a website. These documents however could be difficult to understand and could lead to misunderstandings if the person writing the document was not familiar with technical jargon. After spending the necessary time to program the section of the website (which depended on the complexity of the site) the web developer would then show the draft of the website to the client. If there were changes needed, which is often the case, then another iteration of programming and meetings could take place. A wireframe tool was invented to aid with these iterations – especially in reducing misunderstandings and identifying needed changes early on in the development.
Wireframe tools for feedback
In contrast to this “old school” system without prototyping or wireframe tools, a typical user for a wireframe tool might make a wireframe draft in the wireframe tool and then ask for feedback on it. (If the wireframe tool has collaboration capabilities, the user could show the other stakeholder the wireframe mockup inside the tool editor itself. Because the wireframe tool allows you to quickly edit the wireframe, any changes that might need to be made can be done quickly right then and there in the meeting. After the design has been finally agreed on, you can begin to program. Some wireframe tools will also offer the option to export the prototype or generate a specifications report with pictures. This can be useful to document dates or get client written agreements on designs.
Wireframing as an educational investment
While wireframe tools are helpful for businesses and professionals in conceptualizing websites, where might wireframe tools do the most good? Some would argue in schools. With wireframe tools, a right-brained person, perhaps not with no knowledge of programming could get involved in a web-design project. A wireframe tool might even be a way of bridging the abstract lines of code learned in a classroom setting to applicable designs. If wireframe tools can help students visualize what they are learning, this might encourage more individuals to enter into these fields.
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