I met with a colleague the other day and we were discussing wireframes and how information architecture (IA) really interested us. I never really thought too much about this topic before. I know that I like it because I like organizing content and finding the most effective way to present it to appeal to a user on a website but I never thought about the process of wireframes and their value.
As much as a website needs to be visually appealing, it needs to communicate quickly and effectively it’s message. The user cannot be bombarded with everything you want to showcase on the home page, a common issue I have with a lot of CMS sites. It is key we first understand the main goal of the website and then structure it appropriately. I find this is easily accomplished over a cup of coffee with my client, or an emailed project brief if a face-to-face meeting isn’t possible.
Once I have an understanding of what I need to communicate I will start on my wireframes. I used to just sketch out my layouts very quickly, eager to get to designing, but when I decided to take the time to create wireframes in InDesign I was thoroughly impressed with the result. Not I not only have a professional set of wireframes to send to the client to approve, but I have a really nice road map for which to start my designs from. My design process is now becoming much more effective as I can strictly focus on my designing and not be bouncing back to thinking about layout and site structure all the time.
Here is an example of a wireframe that I just created. It is for a record label website. This is the most content-heavy page, for the individual releases page.