Wireframes play an essential role whatever be the project, especially in a mobile app design project. Wireframes are like a middle ground between first interactive prototypes and low-fidelity sketches. For mobile, the actual process of wireframing varies drastically.
Different designers make wireframing, and its translation reaches hi-fi design in various ways. At the same time, some brands prefer going to code directly from sketches. The typical design process includes the below steps:
Sketch (Conceptual level) → Wireframe (Component level) → Mock/Prototype (Styles level/Interactions level) → Code
We should keep track that product design is a multi-step process, and so, we should avoid performing wireframing in the first step of the process. Before you create wireframes, you need to spend enough time in user research. During wireframing, quantitative and qualitative research data will act as a reference.
So, if you are looking to understand wireframes better, how they become suitable to the design process, and how to create them, we have come up with a guide for you. Here you will get to know step-by-step instructions that will help you to start. Moreover, it will ease creating design concepts quickly.
Steps For Wireframing A Mobile App
Let’s now start with the steps of creating mobile app ideas wireframing. We will divide the steps into two: before creating wireframes and wireframing.
Before Creating Wireframes
1. Map Out A Target User Flow
Before you start wireframing, you should know how many screens you need to design and how users will interact with them. A tangible user flow will ease you in understanding this.
User Flow It’s a sequence of steps that users follow to attain a specific objective. The user objective is the basis of user flow. To meet a particular target, a user may try a few distinct paths. That’s why user flows may not be straight. User flows will assist you in understanding what wireframes you will have to create and how they should be linked.
Using basic objects, like arrows and boxes, you can visualize the flows. You can create user flows either in a digital tool or on paper.
2. Sketch Out The Core Part Of The User Flow
Next, after you define the user flow, you need to visualize it. For that, it would be easy to use a digital prototyping tool, but it’s not good to do this. The main objective of this step is to allow you to explore multiple design directions. In many cases, sketching is done better using a digital sketching tool, or performing on paper works better.
Sketches permit you to create quick concepts that you can share with others, get feedback, and iterate upon it. While sketching, you should think from the user’s perspective and think about the user’s objective. For every screen you design, you should ask:
- What’s the purpose of each and every page?
- How does each and every page assist a business/user attain its goals?
What Is Wireframing?
The sketches you craft will become a basis for your wireframes. When it’s about wireframing, try to craft mid-fidelity wireframes. Such wireframes are functional while discussing with the other designers and developers.
1. Set A Mobile Frame
When you use a simple rectangle for framing your mobile design, it’s better to choose the frame with the dimensions of an actual device for which you design.
Firstly, the frame will look like a natural restriction which will disallow you to put many elements on the screen.
Secondly, a frame will craft an illusion on an actual design.
You will have a wide range of devices for which you would like to design wireframing. But, it’s advised to start with a device having a middle screen size.
2. Determine Layout With Boxes
In the initial stages of wireframing, your target should create a transparent visual hierarchy, set layout, and structure. In this step, you don’t have to target content. You should think about how to present it. So, you should plan the layout in which you want your users to process the information and begin drawing the boxes on the canvas.
Your main aim should be to set the order of information you need to present before your users. Don’t forget that users scan the phone screens and web pages from top to bottom and from left to right (an F-shaped pattern performs best for mobile and desktop screens).
3. Use Design Patterns
One of the essential properties of good UX design is familiarity. When people witness familiar UI elements in a new product, they may depend on their previous experience with this product.
Android and iOS both have native design patterns that ease crafting a familiar experience for the designers. The design patterns act as reusable content blocks that you can use to resolve common issues, like global navigation. Top-level mobile navigation, Floating Action Button (FAB), side drawer, and bottom tab bar are mainly used. If you need to design simple navigation paths, you can use these patterns in your e-commerce mobile app.
Also Read: Choose A Tech Stack For App Development
4. Bring In The Actual Copy
After your visual hierarchy makes you satisfied, you can start replacing dummy text and placeholders with actual content. You should avoid dummy text in this stage as it fails to communicate how the page supports the users in meeting their targets. Moreover, various visual elements we create depend on the content we have in our products. As you start appending actual content, you will know that some UI elements are not essential for your product.
While filling your wireframes with accurate detail, you will witness that the layout is not working correctly. You should iterate and emerge with a better way of showcasing the information you need to communicate in such a case.
After that, you need to test whether the page flows for the users or not. Some content on your page may be unhelpful. At this moment, you can reorganize the content of your page and make the composition look better.
5. Ensure Your Content Scales Perfectly
If the design you create looks impressive on a medium-size phone screen, it’s not like it will look better on other models. Although it’s good to start with a middle size screen while wireframing, it’s also essential to check how content appears on distinct screen sizes and adjust it if needed.
6. Connect The Pages Collectively To Create A Flow
It’s possible to transfer your design as a collection of separate screens. But, it would be better to craft a flow. UX flows ease your team to understand the information of interaction scenarios. This way, they will communicate how users are likely to interact with a product.
7. Test Your Design Decisions
The final step in wireframing is testing. Testing includes user interaction; that’s why this text is usually used in the prototypes’ context. We can conduct simple testing for a flow we create from wireframes. We can use this mobile app testing checklist and can also craft simple clickable prototypes by linking wireframes together. The target of such testing is to check whether the screens perform together or not.
Also Read: How To Launch A Mobile App In 2021
The main objective of wireframing is to know the outline of content and craft a solid base for the next steps of the design process. Well-crafted wireframes for mobile app development make the interaction and visual design easier.
So, while designing wireframing, give enough time to try different processes and tools. This way, it will help you find your style of app wireframing.