Chapter 57. What Is a Wireframe?

Wireframes are important, if not essential. If we are the “architect,” wireframes are the blueprints. But their simple appearance makes some people think they are simple, easy documents.

A wireframe is a technical document. Lines, boxes, labels. Maybe a color or two. That’s it.

Wireframes are often compared to blueprints because they have a similar purpose. A blueprint tells builders how to execute the architect’s plan. Not which wallpaper or furniture to choose. And blueprints are taken seriously. They aren’t a suggestion, or a “rough sketch,” or a “quick mock up.” All those sketches you make on whiteboards or during brainstorming sessions are valuable, but they aren’t wireframes. They are your thoughts about the wireframes you will make later.

A wireframe might only take an hour to draw, but it can take weeks or months to plan. It is important that your colleagues and clients understand that. If another developer or designer can’t use your wireframe yet, it isn’t a wireframe. It’s a sketch. Keep going.

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