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March 28, 2019

The Top 5 Wireframe Mistakes (And How to Avoid Them)

A good wireframe can mean the difference between an efficient design and a poor one. Wireframes allow for early mapping of your design, putting critical elements in place early on and focusing on usability before design. There are a few mistakes that can be made when wireframing, however, which should be avoided. We’ve put together a list of the top five of these mistakes and information on how to avoid them.

1. Design Before Functionality

A wireframe isn’t supposed to represent the final look of your project. It should be plain, ideally grayscale, and focused more on the development aspect of the project than the design. The design is absolutely important, but it should be one of your final considerations for the project.

Before you can think of adding color, fonts, and graphics, you need to work out the usability and navigation of your project first. That’s the beauty of a wireframe. All of the crucial elements can be worked out early on, allowing for a more seamless process and eventual transfer to graphic designers.

Avoid the temptation to add color to the wireframe. Remember that it’s only a temporary representation of the layout of your project, and is there to help you make your product more user-friendly, not more aesthetically attractive.

2. Lack Of Communication Between Team Members and Clients

Form the very beginning of a project, whether you’re working with a large or small team, or several clients or only one, communication should be your absolute top priority. Communication can make a or break a project, and even a relationship with a team member or client.

Start with your client(s). Be sure you understand everything they’re looking to get out of the project, and that you’re including them as the project progresses. Their seal of approval through each stage helps thing run smoother and avoid unnecessary confusion later on.

In addition, a client will be able to better spell out exactly what they’re looking for so even the smallest details are accounted for. A happy client means returning business and hopefully some great referrals.

Communicating with your team is equally as important. You need to ensure everyone is on the same page, aware of changes and new client requests, and of the expectations of the company or organization as a whole.

If you feel you’re missing information, or need clarity on an aspect of the project, don’t hesitate to ask a team member or even the client themselves.

3. Not Using The Right Tools

Using the wrong wireframe tools for the job can make your project frustrating and time-consuming. Wireframe tools make low and high fidelity designs easy to create and collaborate on via online platforms.

If you want to use wireframe tools, you’ll want to do your research beforehand. What is the scope of your project? A small website may not require the same tools as a massive web project or software project.

In addition, some tools have a higher learning curve than others and may end up requiring your time to learn the tools before they can be utilized effectively. For the most part, wireframe tools utilize drag-and-drop interfaces with very little coding.

The best wireframe tools are simple, provide an intuitive interface with sharing and collaboration tools to make working with teams and clients much simpler. Your entire project can turn out differently if you choose the wrong tools, so be sure to research wireframe services and compare each feature in conjunction with the price.

4. Not Listening To Feedback

While this could technically fall under the communication category, we think it’s important enough to the design process to talk about it on its own. Feedback from clients, managers, and team members can be absolutely invaluable to your success and that of the project itself.

It’s easy to take any sort of criticism personally, especially when it comes to design. Design, as an art form, is an expression of ourselves. To have a person point out flaws in that design can cause tempers to flare and projects to be delayed.

The first step to listening correctly is simply understanding that the person offering you feedback is not out to make you look bad. The completed project is a reflection of everyone's efforts, your team simply wants the finished product to be top notch.

When someone approaches you with feedback, listen attentively, and let them know you’re taking what they’re saying to you into consideration an appreciate that they’re looking out for you.

Some people can be more tactful about giving feedback than others. If you come across someone who’s less than tactful with their advice or suggestions, don’t take it personally; chances are they’re just not sure how to word it and weren’t trying to make you upset.

5. Not Focusing On UX

User experience, or UX, should be your number one priority when you’re creating a wireframe. A good website, app, or software navigates easily and is not overly complex or difficult to use. UX should be your first consideration during wireframing.

Decide where certain elements, menus, pages, etc, should go on the site or app. Focus on navigation; how well does the design navigate? Are pages easily accessible from the home page? Do you need a login page?

Making sure your designs are user-focused will ensure satisfaction and create returning customers, which is something you absolutely should strive for in your projects.


While wireframes are useful, sometimes we can get ahead of ourselves and forget certain rules. Always communicate, focus on the UX in your design, and use the right tools for the job. Functionality should always come before design, and all feedback should be considered. Keep these rules in mind when designing your next wireframe and your projects will stand out among their competitors.

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