You must have come across the Wireframe designing concept during project meetings or interviews. What exactly is a Wireframing of a system? how does it help the system development? who design the wireframe? Lot more questions might confuse you regarding the wireframe design.
In this article, we will know about the wireframing concept and why business analysts need to know about wireframe.
What is Wireframe?
A wireframe is a blueprint of the system that shows the visual representation of the key elements of a user interface, the intended layout, and demonstrate the functionality of the system.
A business analyst uses the wireframe technique to visually support the system requirements, its behavior, and functionality. It could be designed using a tool or on a paper using a pen/pencil. It is a black and white design that doesn’t care about the look and feel of the system.
Wireframe focuses on;
- What a system screen does
- What kind of information to be shown
- What type of functionality to be added to the system
- Navigation paths for different pages, etc.
Wireframing usually used in complex projects where it is important to draw the various user forms and how it follows the business process or workflow. Wireframing is not limited to only website development, it is used for complex software and mobile app development as well.
It is very important to gather the complete requirements during the requirement elicitation process. However, sometimes it becomes a very difficult and time-consuming process to discuss and assume the required system behavior, layout, or functionalities.
Here, the wireframing comes as a rescue because it works as a graphical guide for the stakeholder or clients that helps them to understand the to be developed system.
Importance of wireframe for Business Analysts
Wireframe takes the project development process to the next level and let’s see how;
- It ensures that the project management and stakeholders are on the same page about the expectation from the to-be system. You will catch a lot of usability issues at the initial stage only.
- It aligns the business expectation and system delivery. All the data is needed for development, like user roles, their abilities, types of notifications that could be easily visualized with wireframes.
- It helps the business analysts to convey the requirements to the designer, development, and testing teams. It helps them to understand the system’s functionality and expected UI i.e. User Interface.
- It makes the requirement gathering process less time consuming and helps in getting quick approvals.
- It eliminates or reduces the business conflicts during the system development and delivery.
- It becomes flexible for business users to suggest any changes and tweaks regarding the structure and functions of the system.
Key things to know before drawing a wireframe
A well-designed wireframe can reduce a lot of work in the later stage of the project however, a business analyst should know the following before start working on wireframing;
- First and foremost, the tool to be used to design the wireframe.
- Will be a static screen? or will it involve the system behavior?
- Are you designing a brand new user interface or some tweak required in the existing UI?
- User types and roles
- All the system features and functionalities.
- Messages and Alert involved and its trigger points
- Data element of the user interface
- How deep you must dive and how many edge cases / exceptional flows must you capture?
There were the important points to know before going to work on the wireframe however, you will learn more as you involve and get experience in wireframing.
Tips for designing a meaningful wireframe diagram
As I mentioned before, the wireframe diagrams are very critical and important to make sure that, project team and business stakeholders are aligned on requirements. Since the project development also depends on the wireframe diagrams, one should follow the following best practices for wireframing an application.
- A Business Analyst shouldn’t take much time in designing wireframe diagrams.
- Don’t overdo it or don’t try to make it a fancy diagram. Keep it simple but easy to understand.
- You should give attention to the details and should cover all the requirements.
- Make sure you have your requirements and/or user stories ready and at hand, you will need this information.
- Your wireframe design should be easy to understand and it should communicate the requirements to the team.
Tools for designing wireframes
even though you could draw a wireframe on paper using a pencil but the companies usually have advanced tools for wireframing. The following are some tools that could be used to design a wireframe for your next project.
There are some online free tools are also available for the wireframing but with limited options. However, I find these online free wireframing tools sufficient for small projects.
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To sum up;
A wireframe is a blueprint of a system that is designed by the business analysts during the requirement gathering process. It designed as simple as possible and it focuses on the system screens, behavior, etc but no on the look and feel.
A good wireframe diagram should be;
- Easy to test
- Easy to understand
- Easy to discuss and alter as per the requirement
- One that sparks ideas and uncovers the raw solution
- Easy to follow
Now, you know all about wireframe diagram for business analyst, what is the importance of wireframing? Tips for designing quality wireframe diagrams and tools used to design the wireframes.
I hope you liked the article useful. Do share it with your friends and colleagues if you find it helpful.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Wireframe the same as ER diagrams?
No! A wireframe is a visual representation of the system and it is part of the requirements however, the Entity-Relationship (ER) Diagram is part of the solution design to fulfill the business requirements.
Who draws the wireframe diagrams?
Wireframing is done in the initial stage i.e. during the requirement gathering process. Hence, the business analysts are responsible for designing the wireframe diagrams in a project.
Should we use colors while drawing wireframes?
Wireframe diagrams are supposed to be simple and should be developed as quickly as possible. Therefore, it shouldn’t be fancy and mostly designed in black and white format. Later a UI designer gives a colorful share after referring the wireframe diagram.
When the wireframe diagrams will be used?
A wireframe diagram is a visual representation of the TO-BE developed system and designed during the requirement gathering process. However, it is being used during the planning, development, and testing stages. Designers, developers, and testers refer the wireframe diagrams to be aligned with requirements.