For many website developers, the actual work in creating client websites is relatively straightforward. Every aspect of the process is technical and makes total sense. Next comes the component of configuring a website according to a wireframe based on the most effective user experience (UX) practices to build an intuitive user interface (UI).
Completing this phase is extremely tedious, but it’s still one of the most important parts of fine-tuning a website to the precise tastes of your target audience. If you get this part right, your website will be optimized to capture potential leads and convert them accordingly.
If you’re here, then you want to know how to expedite how to develop a website perfectly with UX in mind. Accordingly, this article will cover how to create a complete website from scratch using the best UX and UI practices.
This guide will cover three stages:
Let’s get started.
Every website developer knows that the first step in creating a website is designing the wireframe.
A high-quality wireframe will help to give you, other collaborators, and the client a better picture of what your website will look like. It also serves as a reference for developers and the website’s first design.
Wireframes also display the structural composition of a website, basically pinpointing how user navigation will take place.
As you can see, designing the perfect wireframe is critical to the success of your website for UX/UI purposes. If you are building a new website, the good news is that you can design a wireframe easily.
You don’t even need to be a skilled graphic designer to get the job done. To begin, all you’ll need is some paper and a pencil. You can also use an iPad or a smartphone with a stylus pen.
In this stage, you’ll learn how to develop a wireframe and showcase how it impacts a convenient, interactive design process. You can even use the wireframe you create to serve as a living document and reference for your colleagues and the client.
Your wireframe can also save you a lot of time in coding your website. Here are some categories that will be covered in this stage:
Starting your wireframe will ultimately depend on creating a great sitemap. Of course, when you’re starting to build a wireframe, you have no idea of what the website will even look like.
This is where the sitemap comes into play.
A sitemap will help add dimension to your wireframe and provide structure. This way, you’ll fully understand which pages you need to create and how they will also connect to each other.
Many small websites won’t need a sitemap, such as product landing pages. These websites may also include basic brochures, with just a home and contact page. Nonetheless, when your application or website grows, you’ll want a sitemap.
Sitemaps provide a basic brief of the website pages that exist and how they correlate with each other. In this helpful example, you’ll learn how to produce a basic sitemap, which will contain the standard home, features, and contact page.
It’s not necessary to spend too much time creating this wireframe. Make sure to add a few boxes to show what each page will look like. Also, add lines underneath the boxes to display the sub-pages:
Next, let’s create the first page of the wireframe. Even if you have never created a wireframe before, the process is pretty straightforward. Every single aspect of your website will be shown by a graphic, such as:
For the homepage wireframe, you should create a logo, menu, and slider image. You should also create labels to display what each item is. This also helps in organizing other important sections you can copy and paste to save time later.
Next, let’s add a section to introduce the client on the website, or a snippet of the about us page. You can also add a section to introduce any sponsors, along with their logos and images.
As you progress in creating your wireframe, you can add other important aspects, such as call-to-action (CTA) buttons. Finally, finish your wireframe design by adding standard elements, such as the logo, contact information, or a contact form:
A website’s wireframe isn’t just used by designers, it’s also used by clients, developers, and project managers. For this reason, it’s important to add helpful markup to tell them what they’re looking at.
In the next example, let’s provide markup for the homepage in red ink. Ideally, you’ll want to markup aspects of the wireframe to provide context on what they are. The markup doesn’t just have to explain what an aspect is, but it can also show what it represents:
Once you create the header and footer of your wireframe, you can copy and paste them again. If you’re using pen and paper, a photocopier and razor will achieve the same effect.
You can also configure your wireframe to update other parts when your root changes. In the next example, let’s build a features page. By building the first feature page, you can copy and paste to create the entire page in a few minutes:
Once you gain progress in creating your wireframe, it becomes much easier to build additional pages and other components. Now that your features page is finished, it’s time to create the wireframe for the contact page.
For this phase, you’ll simply need to add a contact form, phone number, email address, and Google Map visual embed. In this example, you can see the representation of two small logos for an email address and phone number.
The contact form can also be seen with the Google Map on the side:
Wireframes still need to be mobile-friendly. This is due to the fact that most internet users use smartphones and tablets instead of desktop computers. Besides, it’s always ideal to know how your wireframe will look in smaller screen sizes.
If you have a lot more time to work with, you can even design a responsive, tablet version of your wireframe as well. In the next example, the home page wireframe has been designed section-by-section.
To do so, the columns and rows are collapsed. From a mobile perspective, the blocks, texts, and images will clearly reduce in size. While it’s still possible for your images to maintain their same height on mobile versions, specific sections with a lot of images may cause users to scroll up excessively.
Since the purpose of this wireframe is to leverage UX, you should create markup providing context about which sections correspond to desktop or mobile versions:
As you can see, creating a wireframe is a simple process that can help you see what your future website will look like. Creating your own wireframe is also better and less time-consuming than hiring a designer to develop a full-fledge UI prototype.
You may have once heard the age-old adage, “measure twice, cut once.” This saying is relevant now considering that creating a prototype helps you to plan your website before you finalize it.
In this stage, you’ll learn exactly what a prototype is and why it’s important. Particularly, you’ll learn:
A prototype is just the second version of a design. It’s essentially built on top of the wireframe. While a wireframe is a sketch of a website’s outline or skeleton, a prototype is a type of mockup for the website.
Here is a sample wireframe that was used before:
The wireframe features a bunch of areas, sections, and pages that will be filled in later during the website’s development. The purpose of the prototype is to build a visual image of the website, just without any images or color.
To build the prototype, you can begin using Figma, an easy-to-use vector graphics tool:
In the previous wireframe, you could see the grids. However, the prototype must add dimension to the grids to create a structure that will serve as its basis. In this example, let’s use a standard 12-column prototype design.
The width will be approximately 1140 px, which will provide at least a 15-30 px margin in between the grid lines. This type of example will be used because it’s mostly utilized in Bootstrap prototype designs.
You can create whatever grid design you want using Figma. Still, you should be aware that a developer will need to code within the lines you create. Therefore, whenever you’re designing something, make sure that you’re keeping the developer in mind.
The wireframe simply represented text and images with lines. In the prototype, you’ll need to fill these lines out with content. Without using colors or images, simply add text to your prototype.
It’s important to remember that your sections and headers should be filled with the exact content that provides context. This will help to add the best images and color for the next phase in the design.
Designating different sections in your website is important for efficient navigation. This way, users can know exactly how to progress throughout your website. It’s also helpful when your website has several different sections.
All in all, here is what the finished prototype would look like if you use Figma:
It’s important to remember never to get carried away when designing the prototype. After all, it’s not supposed to be a full mockup of your website. Overall, designing the prototype of your website may take a few hours, but it can save you days of time in keeping all of your collaborators on the same page during development.
The final step is putting everything you’ve designed together. This includes filling in the gray areas with colors, placeholder text with content, and blank boxes with real images.
This stage will be broken down into four easy steps:
Filling in the prototype of your website is an extremely straightforward process. Before you know it, you’ll be finished and ready to move forward in the development process.
As you can see, building a wireframe and prototype that embodies the finest principles of UX/UI is a convenient process for any skilled developer. However, if you lack the time or expertise to get the job done, we can help.
At Dev.co, we take pride in developing award-winning websites for our clients. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you build a new website.
Ryan is the VP of Operations for DEV.co. He brings over a decade of experience in managing custom website and software development projects for clients small and large, managing internal and external teams on meeting and exceeding client expectations–delivering projects on-time and within budget requirements. Ryan is based in El Paso, Texas.