website wireframe , also known as a schematic or screen blueprint, is a visual guide that represents the skeletal framework of a website . [1] : 166 Wireframes are created for the purpose of arranging elements to best accomplish a particular purpose. The purpose is usually being informed by a business objective and a creative idea. The wireframe depicts the page layout or the content of the website, including the interface elements and navigational systems, and how they work together. [2] : 131The wireframe usually lacks typographic style, color, or graphics, since the main focus lies in functionality, behavior, and priority of content. [1] : 167 In other words, it focuses on what does it look like? [1] : 168 Wireframes can be pencil drawings or sketches on a whiteboard, or they can be produced by a wide array of free or commercial software applications. Wireframes are created by business analysts, user experience designers, developers, visual designers, and by those with expertise in interaction design , information architecture and user research.

Wireframes focus on:

  • The range of functions available
  • The relative priorities of the information and functions
  • The rules for displaying certain kinds of information
  • The effect of different scenarios on the display [1] : 169

The wireframe website connects the underlying conceptual structure. or information architecture , to the surface, or visual design of the website. [2] : 131 Wireframes help establish functionality and the relationship between different screen templates of a website. An iterative process, creating wireframes is an effective way to make rapid prototypes of pages, while measuring the practice of a design concept. Wireframing typically begins between “high-level structural work-like flowcharts or site-maps-and-screen designs.” [1] : 167 Within the process of building a website, wireframing is where thinking becomes tangible. [3] : 186

Aside from websites, wireframes are used for the prototyping of mobile sites, computer applications, or other screen-based products that involve human-computer interaction . [4]

Uses of wireframes

Wireframes may be used by different disciplines. Developers use wireframes to get a more tangible grasp of the site’s functionality, while designers use them to push the user interface (UI) process. User experience designers and information architects use wireframes to show navigation paths between pages. Business Analysts use wireframes to visually support the business rules and interaction requirements for a screen. Business stakeholders review wireframes to ensure that requirements and objectives are met through the design. [1] : 167 Professionals who create wireframes include business analysts, information architects, interaction designers, user experience designers, graphic designers, programmers, and product managers. [4]

Working with wireframes can be a collaborative effort since it bridges the information architecture to the visual design. Due to overlaps in these professional roles, conflict may occur, making wireframing a controversial part of the design process. [3] : 186 Since wireframes signify a “bare bones” aesthetic, it is difficult for designers to assess how closely the wireframe needs to depict actual screen layouts. [1] : 168To avoid conflicts it is recommended that you understand the user requirements, create a basic wire frame and then work with designers to further improve the wireframes. Another difficulty with wireframes is that they are not interactive because they are static representations. Modern UI design incorporates various devices such as expanding panels, hover effects, and carousels that pose a challenge for 2-D diagrams. [1] : 169

Wireframes may have multiple levels of detail and may be broken down into two categories of fidelity, or how closely they resemble the end product.


Resembling a rough sketch or a quick mock-up, low-fidelity wireframes have less detail and are quick to produce. These wireframes help a project team collaborate more effectively since they are more abstract, using rectangles and labeling to represent content. [3] : 185 Dummy content, Latin filler text ( lorem ipsum ), sample or symbolic content are used to represent data when real content is not available. [1] : 175


High-fidelity wireframes are often used for documenting because they make it easier than ever before. [3] : 185

For simple or low-fidelity drawings, paper prototyping is a common technique. Since these sketches are just representations, annotations -adjacent notes to explain behavior-are useful. [1] : 194 For more complex projects, rendering wireframes using computer software is popular. Some tools allow the incorporation of interactivity including Flash animation , and front-end web technologies such as HTML , CSS , and JavaScript .

Elements of wireframes

The skeleton plan of a website can be broken down into three components: information design, navigation design, and interface design. Page layout is where these components come together, while wireframing is what depicts the relationship between these components. [2] : 131

Information design

Main article: Information design

Information design is the presentation-placement and prioritization of information in a way that facilitates understanding. Information design is an area of user experience design , meant to display information effectively for clear communication. For websites, information elements should be arranged in a way that reflects the goals and tasks of the user. [2] : 126

Navigation design

The navigation system provides a set of screens that allow the user to move to the page. The navigation design should communicate the relationship between the links it contains the users understand the options they have for navigating the site. Often, websites containing multiple navigation systems, such as global navigation, local navigation, supplementary navigation, contextual navigation, and courtesy navigation. [2] : 120-122

Interface design

Main article: User interface design

The user interface is designed to enable users to interact with the functionality of the system. [2] : 30 The goal is to facilitate usability and efficiency as much as possible. Common elements found in interface design are action buttons, text fields, check boxes, radio buttons and drop-down menus.

See also

  • Comprehensive layout
  • Graphic design
  • Architecture Information
  • Interaction design
  • User experience design
  • User interface design
  • Web design
  • Comparison of software prototyping tools


  1. ^ Jump up to:j Brown, Dan M. (2011). Communicating Design: Developing Web Site Documentation for Design and Planning (2nd ed.). New Riders Press . ISBN  978-0321712462 .
  2. ^ Jump up to:f Garrett, Jesse James (2010). The Elements of User Experience: User-Centered Design for the Web and Beyond . New Riders Press . ISBN  978-0321683687 .
  3. ^ Jump up to:d Wodtke, Christina; Govella, Austin (2009). Information Architecture: Blueprints for the Web (2nd ed.). New Riders Press . ISBN  978-0321600806 .
  4. ^ Jump up to:b Angeles, Michael (September 25, 2014). “Wireframes” . Konigi Wiki . Retrieved March 25, 2011 .