We can’t deny the constant presence of mobile applications in our daily lives as we all are dependent on them a lot for our regular chores. Apart from that, the design of an app shows a lot about that app, and sometimes, it is the main reason why users get attracted towards the app? There are several things to mind while designing an app otherwise they could go wrong that leading to a crummy design without any motive to serve the audiences.
In this manner, here comes the role of app wireframing that makes a huge difference when it comes to mobile app designing. The wireframe works like a visual guide to clients that displays how a mobile app will work. It includes only main screens and interface elements not the full design of an application.
To get more in-depth knowledge about the mobile app wireframes and how they help in the mobile app designing process, let’s get through the below guide without any further ado. The below guide consists of the different steps about how to make wireframes for mobile apps along with providing an understanding of how these wireframes are important for mobile app development.
Introduction to Wireframe
Wireframe for an app works like a two-dimensional sketch that demonstrates how a mobile app will work or be used by the audience. It comprises key screens and significant elements along with their functioning. This app model design or wireframe is created before starting the actual design process. It is a multi-step procedure that is applied for mobile app designing including UI/UX. App wireframing makes it simpler for designers to understand the app’s working and their roles. You must hire a mobile app development company to perform all these tasks better and has the expertise to get the best results out of them.
Though wireframing was originally used for web designs and CAD (computer-aided design), but now, it has become an integral part of mobile app development. At the initial stage, a wireframe can’t be considered as a high-fidelity graphic design that involves complete design aspects such as HD images, brand logo, font specifications, etc. It is displayed like a schematic diagram or an architectural plan, hence it is easy to modify them collaboratively without affecting the cost.
Important Things to Include in a Mobile App Wireframe
The designing & development team has different approaches for mobile app wireframing. For instance, wireframes with low-fidelity and high-fidelity will vary in terms of the intricacy and accuracy of the designs. Although, regardless of the chosen model, some of the design aspects must be involved by each standard mobile app wireframe.
If we talk about the bare minimum, a basic mobile app wireframe should have the following-
- Space Distribution
- Content Grading
- Possible actions by app users
- Switch between app pages
- App Features
In layman’s words, to create an app wireframe, one must have knowledge about the varied features to include in the app. They must look at the space as well available for these features. There should be added significant navigational features like filter & search buttons that are placed on the top of the page usually.
Some of the wireframes only use grayscale which refers to that designers have to put a lot of effort into shading- darker shades for dark colours and light grey shades for lighter colours. In a mobile app wireframe, sometimes it is difficult to illustrate the interface elements such as show-hide function, dropdown menus, and hover actions.
Why App Wireframes Are Significant for Mobile App Development?
Before developing an understanding of how to create a wireframe for a mobile app, you must get to know why it is important to wireframe the mobile app? An app wireframe works flawlessly as a bridge between the starting-edge thought process and the final user-centric solution.
Here we have come up with some more reasons that depict the essentiality to wireframe a mobile app-
1. Better Understanding of the App
When your app development is still in the initial stage and has not been executed yet, it would be good to know the vision. Why will customers prefer to use your app rather than other existing apps? It would be great to document the use cases for it. With wireframing, it is easy to get an understanding of every phase of the app development process virtually. It gives you clarity about how well your mobile application will achieve its purpose.
2. Time & Cost-efficient
Wireframes are simple to create and cheap when it comes to cost, unlike highly interactive UI/UX design aspects. Be it anything, a digital wireframe or design created with pen-and-paper, there are several resources used to build a wireframe screen in just a few minutes.
If there is any change or modification, it can be implemented at no cost. In this way, you will also get to identify and augment the user experience before initiating the design or development procedure. Improving the number of screens required to accomplish the varied tasks will help you in making navigation instinctive at a high level.
3. User-Centric Development Process
Businesses prefer to create wireframes for mobile apps as it helps to focus on the target audiences or users entirely. Designers can’t measure that how much effective interaction will be between the app interface and users without having a visual representation. Therefore, a wireframe is needed to display the context and incentive behind users’ actions. By keeping this in your mind, you can edit the design to make the task implementation flawless.
To know the importance of wireframing the app, you can look at the below statistics where it is shown that there are a lot of things to consider when you are thinking of a mobile application wireframe. SRS is one of those significant things.
In 2018, there were lots of projects that got failed due to the lack of SRS (software requirement specification). Have a look below-
In the above graph, it is stated clearly that there were 48% of the projects got failed or unsuccessful because of the poor documented requirements. Therefore, wireframing the mobile app becomes more necessary than before.
Different Types of Wireframes
If you are interested to get a proper understanding of how to create wireframes for mobile app, first you must know about their types. Don’t get confused as not all wireframes are similar, it depends upon the app type you want to create. Hence, you must adjust your approach to wireframing.
In common, designers often pick these three types of mobile app wireframes, have a look at them-
A) Low-fidelity Wireframe
This is the most basic wireframing known as a less-described visual representation of page structure, layout, and content hierarchy. It has a full concentration on the user workflow and works as a beginning point to accomplish project objectives. The low-fidelity wireframe involves blocks, image placeholders, filter text, and many more.
B) Mid-fidelity Wireframe
Mid-fidelity wireframes help to augment the low-fi model. It overlooks the particular high-level information like exact pictures and adds more subtlety. In short, it will include different text weights and appropriate content spacing. Some of the designers still believe in using white and black colour only along with articulating the colour variation with the grey shade.
C) High-fidelity Wireframe
The high-fidelity wireframe is called the complete pixel-specific type of wireframe. Here is used actual copies, hover states, text hierarchy, and extra UI elements to convey everything to add into the final design.
Read Also: How To Develop a Designing App Like Canva?
Popular Tools for Mobile App Wireframing
Before reading out the process of how to design app wireframes, you should get knowledge about various wireframing tools available currently. These make the intricate practice of creating mobile app wireframes easier for everyone including newbies. Get through these some of the powerful digital tools mentioned below-
Create a wireframe for the mobile app by using this all-purpose tool including an asset panel. It can be used for receptive alignment of content, consistency, and easy duplication of characteristics. With the Adobe XD, it is easy for developers’ teams to design, prototype, collaborate, and share. It also offers an API for native integration and chat facility.
This tool is known as a vector design tool, especially for macOS users. The sketch is used for developing modern UI and icon vector design. It enables designers to create wireframes fast with the help of artboards and vector design shapes. You can get an extension like Abstract with this tool to make the collaboration easier in this. It also encourages a broad variety of plugins that improves its functionality.
Figma is referred to as a free and collaborative design tool. The plugins are helpful in work automation and alleviating monotonous tasks. In its layer panel, it contains all the artboards and UI elements. It provides real-time collaboration; hence multiple users can work together on a project and all the modifications will be saved.
Undoubtedly, the leading low-fi mobile app wireframe tool existing is Balsamiq. It is an easy-to-use and one of the most used tools by app designers. This tool includes a broad exhibit of pre-built templates along with the drag-and-drop editor. Most qualified designers use this tool to upload their properties and twist the layout.
It is one of the highly interactive tools with responsive prototyping, UI elements, and wireframes for both apps and websites. This tool helps in easy adoption to varied devices and screen resolution. Designers can use this while designing navigation flows with conditions.
It is a freehand designing tool used by various expert mobile app developers and designers to build and manage prototypes. This cloud-based platform permits development professionals & businesses to team up, experiment, and assess the designing idea and its templates via a digital dashboard.
Step-by-Step Guide to Design a Mobile App Wireframe
You must follow the right approach or method while creating a wireframe along with the proper understanding of the vital role of mobile application wireframes. Right from building an augmented user flow concept to creating an appropriate prototype, we are here providing some of the essential steps to follow to help in the wireframe development process.
Step 1: Understanding About the Target User Flow
While knowing about how to create an app wireframe, first you have to determine the flow of target users. It includes specific steps that would be followed one by one. In simple words, user flow helps you identify the number of screens you want to add to your mobile app and how your target audiences will interrelate with them.
User flow follows an order of steps to attain a particular goal and what your potential users want will be the foundation for designers. It will help them to have a clear picture of the wireframe they are going to create. User flow is consisting of basic shapes like arrows and boxes and follows different paths at the time of task execution, hence it can’t be linear always. Regardless of anything, user flow must be always centred on clarity and simplicity.
Step 2: Plan Out the Basic Requirements
After gathering sufficient information about creating an app development wireframe, now you are required to visualize some of the basic elements. You can initiate with the outline and then, work on improving it as you want. Along with it, sketching is a good option to form the user’s interaction.
At this stage, going for any digital tool or writing on paper is not good at all as it slows down the creativity needed for this stage. While sketching out the user’s flow, try to think from the user’s perspective and how the created pages will help users to fulfil their goals? After this, these quick concepts can be shared with others to get their feedback to improve the designs.
Step 3: Mobile Frame Setting
The next thing you should do is to create a specific mobile frame that will be used throughout the procedure. Apart from the visual constraint helpful for space optimization on every screen, a mobile frame provides a basic structure to your developed design & simulates a working prototype in detail.
To get the most suitable outcomes, you must use a simple rectangle to frame the mobile design with the same dimensions according to your target device. It is because the frame will look like a natural restriction that doesn’t permit you to add a lot of elements on the screen. And a frame will form an impression on the actual design. Though there are a lot of devices you are designing for, it would be better if you focus on the base device model.
Step 4: Define the Layout with Boxes
Now, you have reached an important stage of creating a wireframe for app design. At this stage, your main concern should be having a clear visual hierarchy system for your app content. Therefore, you need to form a content layout by using different boxes. Here, the prime focus will be the wireframe structure and in which way you want to display your content?
The layout boxes will help users to know how they can use the information contained on every page and start sketching the boxes on the canvas. The primary goal will be to set the information order you want to show to your users. Consider that users go through the entire app, right from the top to bottom, left to right, and page to page.
Step 5: Key Design Patterns
While knowing how to design an app wireframe, it is an important step to creating a good UX design as it helps to deliver the augmented user experience. There must be added familiarity into your design to achieve the goal. This feature enables users to depend upon the device usage history at the time of app navigation. Whether it is iOS or Android, both contain native design patterns to provide ease to designers for creating a familiar experience.
These key design patterns work as reusable content blocks that can be used purposely to alleviate general issues like global navigation. Sometimes, designers restrict the use of these patterns to limited aspects such as side drawer, bottom tab bar, and FAB (Floating Action Button). Despite that, these Blocks are the most convenient solution to form a familiar UX for varied apps.
Step 6: Create the Actual Copy
After getting the wireframe structure, it is the right time to include the actual copy to it. Replace your dummy images, placeholders, and texts with the actual ones. Here, you must be free while doing experiments as it will help you to search some of the UI elements that will not be a perfect fit for the app screens. You can modify your existing layout based on this and even you can alter the entire section with the current design. Be free to modernize, analyse, and iterate as much as needed. You must restate and develop a better way of data representation that you need to convey. Then, you can test the page flow and content of the page to check if everything is going well.
Step 7: Scale the Content Well
When we discussed how to make an app wireframe, it was recommended to begin with the base device model. But now, when you have got an appropriate content hierarchy structure, it is significant to observe how your present content scales out the different screen sizes. Even on iOS, the content appearing fine on the iPhone SE screen doesn’t need to look great on iPhone12 Pro Max as well. Not only visual appearance, but UX also can get affected in this. Hence, there is a need to identify how the layout displays on every device screen to decide the required changes.
Step 8: Link the Pages Together
While having mobile app development services, it is necessary to link all your app pages with the UX flow to transfer the design easily. It is beneficial for the development team to get knowledge about the app functionality entirely. Also, it will provide them clarity on how users will interact with the developed product.
Step 9: Design Testing
Be it wireframe or mobile app testing, it is the most crucial step throughout the development process. Here, you test your design decision taken before to see how accurately & effectively every aspect is working or achieving its goal. In this whole scenario, the prominence of design testing will be interaction with the user. Designers can test the design flow & operability even at the wireframe level, they don’t have to wait for the development of the working prototype.
There can be used digital wireframing tools to connect the wireframes and create simple clickable prototypes. The main goal will be here to know how the screens will interact with each other while being in a regular user environment.
Step 10: Transform Wireframes into Prototypes
In the end, now it is time to turn your created wireframe into a prototype. In layman’s words, it refers to including additional information to the wireframe and crafting a high-fidelity design depicting the final creation. It can be seen often that designers refer to wireframes as low-fi prototypes.
A high-fi clickable prototype becomes more accurate and engaging when there are added extra UI elements. It helps in-
- Discuss the designs precisely
- Turn your designs into reality
- Collecting the feedback
- Assumption validation
Take a Note
In essence, we can say that the mobile app wireframe is a kind of digital summary that will represent how your app will work and interact with users via minimalistic or monochromatic design. At present, wireframes have become an integral part of the mobile app development process. The main objective of creating wireframes is alleviating the cost and time consumed in app designing and doing the changes later according to the client.
In the above article, we have penned down a complete guide about what is wireframe, how it is useful, and how to create a wireframe for a mobile app. From user flow map to prototype, to have a smooth process, you must hire a leading mobile app development company. SemiDot Infotech will be a good option when it comes to getting high-quality mobile app development & designing services containing the ideal mobile app wireframe.