In 2015, when people are looking for a business, the first place they turn to is the internet. However, to turn potential customers into actual buyers your website needs to be sophisticated and visually attractive. A sloppy, outdated, poorly designed site forces customers to question your company’s professionalism, credibility and quality. A comprehensive and user-friendly site is essential. Customers expect instant gratification, and if they become lost in a poorly laid out website, they bail quickly.
That’s why when you are overhauling your website—and especially when you develop one from scratch, you need to create a wireframe for your site.
Wireframing is the creation of a visual outline of the basic functionality of your website, including page layout, text style, working links, and the arrangement of elements and navigational systems so you can determine how they work together.
While any entrepreneur can easily sketch a wireframe using good old fashioned pencil and paper, technology can make the process extremely simple. Here are four popular options for creating wireframes:
1. Balsamiq Mockups
Offering low-fidelity wireframes with a simple drag-and-drop component, Balsamiq is ideal for even technically-challenged users. Mockups are meant to look unfinished to encourage feedback from employees and customers. Download it for $89 or subscribe to the online service with packages starting at $12 per month.
Quickly create wireframes by dragging and dropping elements onto the page, and easily rearrange and resize them. Share a link of your wireframe so employees, teammates and clients can edit the content in real time. Packages start at $9 per month.
This web-based tool is ideal for collaboration, allowing multiple people to edit the same project simultaneously. It also provides a TeamChat communication tool and an annotated feedback system. In addition, the MockStore offers a large library of third-party templates, layouts and components, making it easy to generate ideas and lay out your site. The basic version is free, or upgrade to packages starting at $14 per month.
Even if you don’t have coding skills, Axure allows you to create interactive HTML wireframes. Start by creating simple wireframes, and go to the next level by adding color, images, gradients and more. There’s grids and other tools to help with placement and design decisions. There’s a 30-day free trial, and plans start at $289 per license.
Technology has made the process of building a wireframe relatively painless. These four innovative programs can help you develop a site you’re proud of—and your customers love.