As I’ve noted before, it’s always good to be reminded of the basics, especially when those basics seem to be completely forgotten.
Here’s a nice bit about the importance of wireframes, and everything they really should be. Not to mention what they should NOT be.
Summing up very quickly what they should not be - design, or anything like it. I don’t really agree with the author’s metaphor of wireframes as a blueprint, because a building’s blueprint already has an awful lot set in stone. If the blueprint says the kitchen goes here, that’s where the kitchen goes. Wireframes should not even be that final. There is still room to move this module up or down and figure out placement, let alone the look and feel.
What wireframes should be is a complete map of everything that’s going to go in a site. They do not convey the look and they do not dictate design. But this is where we should examine every piece of the site to make sure that every little detail is understood and no question is left unanswered. It’s not a place to say, yeah yeah, there’s going to be a carousel there, but rather, there’s going to be a carousel there, and it will need to support x different slide layouts, and those layouts need to include such and such, and that data will come from here.
Too often everyone is anxious to get to the nice shiny PSD mock up, and think that is where we’ll flesh out the details. Granted, wireframes are boring to look at. But think about how easy it is to update a wireframe as opposed to a fully fleshed out PSD. It we spend the time really looking at wireframes, and thinking through every piece, we’ll notice all the details that are missing early on, and save a lot of time down the road.