Why you should use a wireframe to create your new website

Digital & Online

Months ago when the new National Screen Institute website was a mere twinkle in my eye (I’m its web manager) I got asked lots of questions about how the new website would function.

How would the navigation work?

How would the content be organised?

So I settled into my favourite spot in front of a computer and began to create my vision based on meetings with colleagues and our design folks.

I used Word. I added text boxes with menu items. I broke down the navigation and content. It was rudimentary.

I’ve used SmartDraw and would use Word again in a heartbeat. If you know how to draw a text box and move it around in Word then don’t bother with anything fancier.

I essentially built what I now know was a wireframe.

Some time later I sat for several hours with our website developer and sketched out our new website based largely on my initial Word diagrams. Another stage in the wireframe process.

Why am I writing about this now?

Randa Clay published a post today about wireframing and I was reminded how important that process was for me and my colleagues in bringing this mythical new website to life. Suddenly ideas had a structure.

It’s one of the most basic steps in planning a new website.

Oh, and PS – developing a website is one job you’ll never finish. There is no end. I’ll write more on this in coming weeks. But eight months after launching our shiny new site, I’m about to redevelop one of its – if not THE – major parts.