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What are wire-frames for interactive design?


Wire-framing is the initial step to every interface design. The big picture of every design is seen on the wire-frame. Wire-frames are developed with mark-ups because they take sketch forms and there is a need for developers and management to understand the meaning of the items on the sketch work. Wire-frames are done either physically with tools like paper and board, or with software. Examples of some software include Invision and Wireframe.

The wire-frames are developed at the end of the United research done for the user’s needs. This is put on paper with a flow guide and serves as a guide to develop a proper solution for every uncovered need of the user. The initial wire-frame on the sketch is mainly a low definition wire-frame and is used to ensure that the uncovered user requirement is met in the solution that is being developed. There is a high definition wire-frame that allows for more interaction on the sketches, as there can be additional functionalities to the already existing sketches. The user flow is important in developing the frame because it provides a proper guide to every page of the design and the necessary interaction of the users with the system.

Guide to a good wire-frame

  • User research is very essential, as it defines the original need for which the product should be built. User research has an end deliverable, which is the user requirements. This user requirement should be kept readable and handy, as it guides through every other development stage of the product.

  • Information architecture explains the data flow across the product being developed. It gives a graphic light of the user’s expected pathway through the system. Information architecture is developed with the guide of the user requirements gathered from the user research. The pathway of the information architecture should be simple and direct.

  • Now, we can do the wire-framing properly. The pages are put down on paper as sketches. Every user page is covered on the wire-frame. This framing is reviewed as many times as possible to meet the expected need.

Example of a web wire-frame

  • Adding mark-ups or labels help explain the frame that has been developed. It helps both the developers and management come to terms with every diagram or session on the frame. We can add a mark-up/label to the web page we developed above.

Example of a web wire-frame with labels

  • Just after finishing the very first framing and labeling, the development team and the management team can review the interface and approve the frames. At this point, the frames can be collapsed to other screen sizes for similar purposes. For example, a mobile or tablet view could be needed to cover every device that can be used to access the website.


The wire-frame for every design is like a big picture or road map to the destination of the design. With the right wire-frame, there can be an excellent interface design.



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