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A Guide to Creating Mobile-App Wireframes in 2020

October 5, 2020

Wireframes play an important role in both the design and development of mobile apps. As you make decisions about an app’s functionality and create wireframes to depict your design solutions, your wireframes pass through various stages.

Different UX design teams follow different approaches in creating mobile-app wireframes. Some may help you come through with flying colors, while others may lead to failure. In this article, I’ll describe eight important steps that can help a mobile-app design company to build best-in-class wireframes for their projects. So let’s begin.

Creating Mobile-App Wireframes: A Step-by-Step Guide

The overall process of creating a mobile-app wireframe comprises eight steps.

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1. Build Your Target User’s Flow

Building your target user’s flow is where mobile-app development starts. You must have a complete understanding of your project and how you will connect an app’s various screens to one another. Make your customer’s workflow clear. An easy-to-use flow ensures that your users can accomplish their objectives.

Your users might have many thoughts to share about the workflow of your mobile app, so conduct user research to ensure that you consider every possible aspect of your target user’s flow. This can help you build the best possible workflow for your project.

2. Sketch the Core Elements

Visualize the user’s workflow for your project. You might be tempted to use digital tools to sketch the target user’s flow, but I suggest that you first sketch the core elements on paper.

Exploring your designs first on paper, then through digital sketching gives you a better idea of what you should design and develop. Always sketch the core elements of your wireframes from the user’s perspective.

3. Wireframe Key Design Patterns

A good user interface plays an important role in the success of a mobile app. Therefore, you should focus on designing an alluring user interface to create a mobile app that attracts and engages your users. Never compromise on the key design patterns for your project.

4. Create a Mobile Frame

Establish the mobile frame for your project using an actual phone’s design, as shown in Figure 1, rather than just placing screen designs within a rounded rectangle. Take a look at the device on which you’re planning to launch your app in the future. When you use gadgets to frame mobile-app wireframes, they’ll prevent your having to create any unnecessary elements. For instance, if you’re planning to build an application for iOS users, using an iPhone SE is an ideal choice in 2020.

Figure 1—A mobile frame contains the wireframe elements
A mobile frame contains the wireframe elements
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5. Determine the Layout

During the initial phase of wireframe development, focus on creating the overall structure of the wireframe rather than its individual elements. One approach to doing this is to begin with the boxes of the business-model canvas.

6. Scale Your Content

The same layout won’t work on every mobile-device screen. Imagine that you’ve laid out your content on the screen of an iPhone 5. The same content structure won’t work for the iPhone X, so you’ll need to reframe and scale your content for the iPhone X structure.

Every frame could require changes, depending on the screen sizes of your different target devices. Therefore, it’s important to scale your content to fit various screen sizes. Always check that your content works on different screens.

7. Connect the Screens

Connect your app’s screens in the proper order for your app’s workflow. You can plan an optimal user journey for your app and understand its complete flow. You’ll reduce the chance of errors when you connect all the screens. Give each screen a reference number so you can easily connect the screens to one another.

8. Test Your Design

The last, crucial phase of mobile-app wireframing is testing the accuracy of each and every element of the wireframe. For testing purposes, you can use various design tools to check for any bugs or errors. But always be sure to check your mobile-app wireframes, too.

Tools for Creating Wireframes

There are many tools on the market that make it easy to create mobile-app wireframes. Let’s look briefly at the top five wireframing tools that you can use in developing your wireframes.

Terrastruct

This tool was designed with software engineers in mind. It lets users diagram in multiple layers and get an abstraction of each layer.

Features of Terrastruct:

  • seamless data exporting and importing
  • diagram and flowchart templates
  • organizational charting
  • easy drag-and-drop manipulation

Sketch

This tool works perfectly well and makes collaborative prototyping faster. You can download a 90-day free trial of Sketch for Mac OS.

Features of Sketch:

  • instant previews and code exports
  • amazing grids and guides
  • tools for vector editing
  • export presets and plugins

Cacoo

This is a user-friendly wireframing tool and has seemingly unlimited wireframe templates. It also supports real-time collaboration.

Features of Cacoo:

  • mockup and prototype creation
  • flowcharts and mind mapping
  • multiuser collaboration
  • templates

Wireframe.cc

If you’re looking for a tool that can speed up the process of wireframing, this tool is for you. You can choose templates that include mobile verticals and Web pages.

Features of Wireframe.cc:

  • interactive elements
  • easy page linking
  • drag-and-drop elements
  • collaboration
  • a mobile user interface

Figma

This tool is popular for its great prototyping and graphic-design features. Figma even comes with different levels of wireframing—from the simple to the complex.

Features of Figma:

  • instant access for everyone
  • automatically works with plugins
  • automatic layouts with responsive design
  • code-generation tools

Parting Thoughts

The ultimate goal of creating mobile-app wireframes is to design an app’s flow, so you can develop an easy-to-use app. Creating wireframes helps you better understand your project and ensures that you cover all the elements your app requires.

Keep experimenting with various wireframing tools to get better results over time. Create new, innovative mobile-app wireframes for your projects. By following the eight steps for creating a wireframe that I’ve outlined in this article, you can achieve optimal results.

Please let me know your thoughts on this article in the comments! 

CTO at Excellent WebWorld

Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India

Mayur PanchalAs the CTO at Excellent WebWorld, Mayur always aims to keep his team on the same page and create optimal UX designs for applications. He keeps up to date with all the latest trends in mobile-app technology and design. He also enjoys writing blog posts that are helpful to businesses who are implementing new technologies in their operations. Mayur has worked with clients from almost every corner of the world.  Read More

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