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Wireframes are a waste of your time and money

Wireframes are remnants of the past and we should stop using them. Here's a list of reasons why I see no sense in wireframing design projects in 2019.

  1. Wireframes are unnecessarily expensive to produce. With the modern, efficient design tools there is almost no difference in production between making an actual high fidelity mockup and a wireframe. You're wasting time and money.
  2. Wireframes are easily misunderstood by the client. Wireframes are not clear because they communicate only the non-visual aspect of their potential product. Something not easily understood by a layman.
  3. They also mislead you and the client to think that the design decisions are more fixed than they are. Clean wireframes give the viewer the impression that the ideas look very thought-through. While in this stage they often are not.
  4. Visual design choices cannot be made in wireframes. Colours, typefaces, shadows etc. influence the relative hierarchy of elements. Wireframes are often made standard and monochrome. You might as well make the high fidelity mockup from the non-standard wireframe.
  5. Wireframes are not great for documentation either, the iteration rarely stops when the wireframe and concept has been written. Requirements change, development runs into things, and user tests discovers issues. Keeping on top of that, while changing the wireframes and their resulting tickets is just inefficient.

With wireframes I mean the made-on-a-machine, black and white generic style mockup of a user interface. I will stick with hand-drawn sketches. They are easily iterated on, rearranged, swapped out, and thrown away. Make high fidelity mockups straight from these hand-drawn sketches instead.