The sequence of steps in creating a website goes roughly this way:
- Initial consult to gain understanding of the client’s needs and perspective
- Map out a design brief and site map
- Wireframe out the design
- Give design instructions to the developer
- Test and test and test again the scripted-out site
- Send to the client for review
- Apply client’s edits
- Finally, launch the site
All of those parts require many talented people to run smoothly and effectively. As a designer, my main role is creating the visual depiction of the client’s wishes. Whether it is selling toothbrushes, promoting a law firm or to display artwork, every client has a purpose behind their website, and I need to make that purpose desirable to their audience.
Going back to those steps of the website process, one of the more intrinsic parts of my role as the designer is to create the wireframe. The wireframe is a viewable construction of the aesthetic value and functionality of the website. It gives the client an understanding of what exactly they are in for and even more so, that their goals are being met. Up to this point, the discussions have circled around example sites, what kind of products they are selling, what the message of their brand is promoting, but those are only words. The client has not yet seen their idea being represented by anything other than context, much less an actual outline of logos, images and text. The wireframe gives the client the confidence and the reality check of what they are pursuing with their website.
Beyond the client’s goals, the wireframe also provides a plan for our team to move forward with. Now the development specifications can be laid out, the content needs can be explained and the script-out can begin. It is a part of the system that allows the process to continue and the project to come into existence. You must give the client an understanding of what they are to expect and at the same time, provide your team the next step in providing that expectation.