Are Wireframes a Waste of Time Nowadays?

Soumee Kar
2 min readOct 22, 2020
Are wireframes a waste of time, even if done right? Do they confuse clients and users more than they help? What does a high quality, effective low-fidelity prototype do for us that a high fidelity prototype does not? Photo by picjumbo.com from Pexels.

I see the importance of low-fidelity prototypes like wireframes — especially if a design idea is needed quickly for clients. Wireframes are definitely faster to create and definitely a tool for detailed documentation of interactions without the visual design. However, with my experience with using programs such as Adobe XD and Figma, it’s really easy to unintentionally put in more information than needed for a wireframe — almost turning it into a high fidelity prototype instead. Like this article said, “Back then there was a valid argument for the time-saving benefits of wireframes, but today our tools are purpose-built for UI design (Think Sketch, Adobe XD, or Figma) and make it significantly quicker and easier to manage and update styles globally. Changing layout “after” the visual style is “set” shouldn’t be any harder than changing it early,” (Sean Dexter). Wireframes also might be too abstract for clients to effectively evaluate since they aren’t familiar with features and placeholders — which can be confusing for them. Clients would probably prefer higher fidelity models. “Wireframes tell people how a design is going to be when it’s done, but they still have to do a lot of work mentally to make it come together in their heads.” (Jen Randolph)

Though wireframes don’t exactly seem necessary anymore due to the immense help from programs, I think wireframes are still important to do for planning purposes. It’s like writing a paper — you need an outline first. If you go straight into writing, you’re going to be focusing on so many things at once that it can get messy. Wireframes are supposed to focus on the layout and usability rather than aesthetics. It keeps things conceptual to avoid the risks of getting too invested in features that aren’t as important (such as button color or pictures). For someone like me, I think I would prefer making wireframes on paper rather than programs so I won’t get carried away by colors, shapes, and icons. I can simply make quick sketches, evaluate the usability myself and then demonstrate the same sketch on a program. But when doing high fidelity prototypes, I’d make them on programs such as XD and Figma.

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