Wireframing is a process that helps you build a mobile app. Here’s how to do it right.
If you think you can make some money by building your own mobile app for iOS and Android phones, you have to realize that it’s not as simple as writing a short essay for school. No, you will need to expend a lot of effort into it, and you’ll need plenty of time as well. You have to deal with the coding and the UI design. In addition, you have to plan for the app functionality in advance. By having such a plan, you can then begin programming right away and put in your crucial features without too much of a fuss.
Many have found out that if you’re going to create your own app, you’re better off by using the wireframing process. This is a design process, and it involves laying out in detail each of the app’s views. You create a visual guide that represents the basic skeletal framework of your app.
So how exactly can you do this properly? If you’re building an app, try to use wireframing right by heeding these useful tips:
1. Consider the Possible Views
You can view each app as the sum total of a set of pages, which in industry parlance are called “views”. The views here can have any sort of important feature. It can be a listing or a table, a dial pad, or a photo gallery.
So when you’re planning your wireframe, you have to consider all these possible views. You can begin this with the “root view”, which is basically what your user sees once they’ve loaded the app. Exactly what elements does the interface need so that your user can go through your app properly? So right away you know that you need to provide some type of navigational tool for your user.
If you want, you can also just present an outline of all the apps views. You can limit this to the various sections, especially if you’re going to have hundreds or even thousands of the same page style. You want to show how the app actually flows; you don’t need to define your content.
2. Plot Your Navigational Paths
With a pen and paper, you can actually start with a root view and then put in arrows and buttons that can lead the user to a new page to load. You can draw this easily enough with rough sketches and arrows, though you may also use wireframing software to make it easier for you.
In this stage you should end up with a sort of basic diagram, so you have specific buttons and elements that lead to particular pages. With this, you can have a guide that can keep you from forgetting about crucial UI elements.
3. Plan for interactivity
Of course, not all apps will necessarily have interactive elements. But then a lot of apps do work better when your users can enter some sort of input. For a mobile app, this may mean putting in popup messages and a handy keyboard interface.
Now you have to separate the function content from the view layouts, or else it can get confusing pretty quickly. You can do that easily enough by using different shapes. You can also define how the function will process the data.
To help you remember, you can use simple symbols to signify the type of interface you plan to use. A small key with a letter can symbolize a user keyboard, or a small box with a number can stand for a number pad. Don’t forget to label what kind of input data you expect the user to put in, whether it’s their username, password, or their email address.
4. Represent your filler content
You don’t have to actually put in the actual text you want to use for your app content while you’re in the wireframing stage. It’s enough that you scrawl in a few squiggly lines in the proper places to denote where you want the words to appear. You can then also designate your own graphics symbols to denote a photograph, a table, or even a video. Here, the point is that you have a rough guide on where and in what sizes the content elements will appear. You can then scale out these elements later in the final design of the app.
Of course, in some cases, you may need to use actual words here instead of squiggly lines. This is especially true when you’re using text to use for navigational elements. Just write the words in so everything’s clear.
5. Try free wireframing tools
You don’t really have to buy this type of program first, as some of these things are free. So you won’t have to resort to an actual pen and paper method to plan this out. The judicious use of Google can help you find the open source templates that let you plan your wireframing process in admirable detail.
With these free wireframing tools, you can jump-start your plan and you also are less likely to forget a crucial step. In fact, you may even try to find actual examples of mobile and web wireframes. These will contain screenshots and views that you may find useful for your own app.
For a programmer, the beginning steps of building your own app can be an exciting time. But you need to plan ahead, and it helps if you start with the user interface of your app. You put yourself in the shoes of your user, so you can plan for what they see as they sue your app. You can also plan for how they should navigate their way through the various features of your app.
Starting with a rough draft is a sensible first step. It’s like starting with a rough sketch for a painting. It helps you to realize what works and what feels right for your app. You don’t have to overthink it. You just have to think about it and plan for your users’ needs. By having a plan in advance, you can then methodically build your app without any overlooked elements that can waste your time.