The Do’s and Don’ts of Wireframing in Web Design

May 4, 2016

One of the things that entices website visitors to hit their back button is poor navigation. Web designers are well aware of this, and incorporate wire-framing into the design process in order to optimize navigation.

Wireframes are basically black and white layouts that dictate the size and various elements of a page on a website. There are no creative elements involved with wireframes, and instead they are structural in nature. They assist in the web design process by helping to plan layouts pertaining to how users will process site information, and plan how users will engage with interfaces.

The Importance of Wire-framing

Wire-framing essentially helps web designers and clients stay on the same page as far as a website’s structure is concerned. This will help establish how a site should look and function. Wire-framing done right can create a site that people will want to visit, but done wrong, and you’ll just send visitors packing.

Here are the dos and don’ts of wire-framing in web design.


  1. Keep Things Simple – Wire-framing helps establish the functionality of a website, the structure of its content, and its behaviour. It will only tell you what a UI could look like once it’s been implemented. Don’t overdo it with fancy colours and typographic style.
  2. Prioritize the Hierarchy of Content – Hierarchy of content is critical in providing visitors with precisely what they’re searching for. Throughout the wire-framing process, be sure to answer questions that your readers feel is important. For instance, mobile users will likely want content that is responsive and accessible. In this matter, wireframes should show relevant data at the forefront, and hide everything else.
  3. Test Often – Not testing enough is a big mistake. Oftentimes it’s necessary to see what your work will look like onsite. You should ideally test your design at various intervals to help you identify various user experiences, pinpoint those that show promise, and identify any problems during the design process.
  4. Make it Responsive – One of the most important elements of web design is making sites responsive to mobile devices. With more and more people using their mobile devices to peruse the internet, it only makes sense to incorporate a mobile responsive design. Web designers need to keep up with this fact. For this reason, mobile wireframes must be part of the design process.


  1. Make the Design Overly Complicated – Doing so will only confuse and over-stimulate users. Instead, keep all of your details to a minimum.
  2. Forget About Content Organization – While wireframes tell you where content will go, they won’t let you know what the content will look after it’s displayed. Don’t rely on Lorem Ipsum to give you this indication, as the template will likely provide an inaccurate impression of what your content will look like on a display screen.
  3. Place Style Over Functionality – Wireframes help to define the actual substance of a website, but many web designers fail to take this fact into consideration and instead allow their own style get in the way, such as adding colours to wireframes. Colours can interfere with the wireframe because it mixes its functions with graphics, making defining a wireframe more difficult.
  4. Hide Too Much Content – It’s important not to keep too much content hidden when designing a wireframe. Doing so can irritate visitors after the website is complete. Not only that, but too much hidden content is bad for SEO purposes.

Follow these tips to creating an ideal wireframe when developing a website.

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