Have you ever opened a new app and been greeted with a series of ‘pop-ups’ that explain how to use the app? Well, this is the first sign of a poorly designed app. If an application interface must be described to the user, then it probably isn’t a well-designed interface.

So, how did companies like Facebook and Instagram design such user-friendly apps? For any company, no matter how big or small, it all begins with a ‘wireframe.’ A wireframe is an outline of a website or app that allows the company to gain a rough idea of how they want the interface to be designed and how it will function. Wireframing can be done with software that allows a company to create an interactive outline, or they can opt for something as simple as a hand-drawn diagram.

Above is an example of a hand drawn wireframe. Each individual page of the app is drawn out and shows which buttons and images will appear on the screen. The red arrows show what happens when the user interacts with different parts of the app. For instance, when the user taps on the search bar, the search screen pops up and begins to show suggestions. Wireframes should be very simple in their design. The idea of a wireframe is to design and test functionality, without ‘looks’ getting in the way. This is why wireframes do not include any design features such as: color, logos, or fancy text. Ideally, the wireframe would then be tested with people outside the organization to see if the app truly makes sense. Gaining an outside perspective is extremely important, because you want to see if the app is usable by someone who has no idea what the app is supposed to do, or how it was designed. Furthermore, wireframing allows a company to easily communicate with software engineers. A wireframe shows a software engineer how the company wants an app or website to be designed, thus saving time and money. Hopefully this gave you an understanding of the importance of planning, when creating an app or website. By creating a wireframe, not matter how simple, you will be able to create a convenient and successful user experience.