What is a website wireframe?

Wireframe for the homepage of my website.

Wireframe for the homepage of my website.

A website wireframe is a lot like a blueprint for a house. It’s a document that shows the framework of how the website might look or function. It will show things like navigational elements, form fields, and content placeholders, but usually does not show typographic style (fonts), colors, or particular graphics. The point is to show how the information will be displayed, the priority of the specific elements on the page, and particular functionality (how parts of a page will work).

If you’re interested in creating a wireframe, here are some great tools for the job:

Making your iPad kid-friendly

If you have a young child (2-4yrs) using your iPad, make sure to disable the multi-touch gestures first. When enabled, if the kid uses more than three fingers inside of an app they may close the app or switch to a different screen by accident and not understand what they did. When disabled, the only way to leave an app is to use the home button, which is less frustrating and easier for a young child to understand.

To disable gestures, go to Settings > General and turn off “Multitasking Gestures”.

Print Versions

If you read a lot of articles online and are sick of flashing ads and extra content that get in your way, check the page for a print version of the article. A lot of sites have a link to stripped down version of the page without distractions.

Opening links in a new window

If you are in charge of maintaining a website, you’re probably familiar with creating links to other web pages, either in HTML or an editor like Dreamweaver. When adding a link you have the option to open the web page in the current browser window or a new one. In the past, it was very common to set links to open in a new window. But it’s become less accepted over the years for many usability reasons.

Here are a few important ones:

  • Users are more likely to expect the new page to load in the current window. Having a new window pop up unexpectedly could be distracting.
  • Many people use the back button to navigate on the web. If the link opens in a new window the back button won’t take them to the page they came from, which might be confusing.
  • It can be disorienting for novice web users and for the visually impaired. They might not realize that a new window has opened and might struggle switching between windows.

Read more on Webcredible