When you start out on a journey, you need a map and that is what a wireframe does for a digital design. A wireframe presents the basic structure of a website or mobile app before the content, color, or style are added. They are a valuable UX design tool because they are inexpensive to produce, quick to make, and easy to change as the design develops.

What Is a Wireframe?

A wireframe is a two-dimensional representation of the structure of a proposed web page or mobile app. It is a tool for designing websites and other digital products that lays out the basic structure of a page before content and other elements are added. Wireframes are stripped down; they have no color or text, nothing to distract from the structure of the elements on the page.

These representations are produced early in the design process to allow the team and clients to agree on the structure of the design. They are also useful for user testing, especially the more refined high-fidelity wireframes.

How Are Wireframes Used in UX Design?

The UX design process has five generally recognized parts: empathize with the user, define the problem, come up with ideas and possible solutions, create prototypes of those ideas, and test them with users. UX design is a user-focused model and wireframes are a useful tool in the early stages of the process.

The UX design process is based on the questions why, how, and what. It begins with research to discover why the user experience is what it is. The goal of this phase is to understand what the user wants from the experience. The designer conducts surveys and interviews to discover the motivation and goals of users.

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The definition phase involves using the data collected along with analytics to create a detailed description of the user experience. This phase involves creating user personas, flowcharts, and mapping to uncover patterns and trends.

Once the patterns emerge, design enters the third phase in which team members generate ideas about how to solve problems and improve the experience. A rough sketch of the product is developed, and from that come wireframes and prototypes.

The next phase is testing the product or website to see the user experience is what was expected. Depending upon the test results, there may be a redesign phase to improve the experience further.

Types of Wireframes

Wireframes can be a simple paper and pen sketch or an interactive digital representation. There are three types of wireframes: low-fidelity, mid-fidelity, and high-fidelity. Each is a bit more complicated than the last.


Low-fidelity wireframes are static, hand-drawn sketches of what the page will look like. This is a quick, easy, and inexpensive way to give a client a first view of the proposed design. It also shows the basics of how the design will look and function without the distractions of images, colors, or text. Low-fidelity wireframes are easy to update; you simply draw a new picture when you make a change.


Mid-fidelity wireframes are digitized versions of hand-drawn sketches. They are cleaner and more uniform, but they are still static and are often sent to team members and clients in .pdf format. Although it is digitally drawn, it is still very simple. The only colors on a wireframe are white, black, and sometimes gray. Elements are represented by shapes, such as rectangles marked by crossed lines for images, circles for logos, and blocks of text by pseudo-Latin (Lorem Ipsum).


High-fidelity wireframes are also digital but they are interactive and give an idea about how the different parts of the page work, rather than just how the page looks. This type of wireframe is very close to the look of the final design. It can be used for testing and is also called a prototype.

How Are Wireframes Made?

Wireframes can be made from paper and pencil or on a digital drawing app, but the most common way to make wireframes now is to use one of the software tools available for digital design. Most of this software not only allows you to create wireframes and prototypes, but can be used to design the website or app as well.

Software for Wireframing

There are many digital design applications available, but these are four of the most popular.

Adobe XD

Adobe XD is a design tool based on vector graphics that allows you to create digital designs for everything from mobile apps to websites. XD is part of Adobe’s Creative Cloud and works well with other CC apps like Photoshop, Illustrator, and Animate. There are many repeating features that make your workflow move faster, and XD also includes collaboration features that make it easy to share and test prototypes. You can run XD on both macOS and Windows.


Sketch is a Mac application that doesn’t work on Windows. You can use vector editing tools or design at the pixel level. It allows you to scale to any screen size and speed up your workflow with mathematical shortcuts. As with XD, there are repeatable components and you can organize your design so everything is easy to find. Sketch recently added real-time collaboration, so now it is easier for a team to work together, and you can also create libraries of the elements the team is using. There are also many plugins available to customize your workspace.


InVision works to support the entire design process from brainstorming, designing, testing, collaborating, and delivering. The application includes Studio, Cloud, Freehand, Craft, and Enterprise. InVision works on both macOS and Windows.


Figma is another design application. It includes FigJam which provides an online whiteboard for collaboration to let your design team plan, define, and workshop together. You can use the pen tool for vector graphics or plugins like an instant arc design. Auto Layout moves and stretches items automatically, and Figma makes the work move along efficiently. Figma runs on a browser so it will work with macOS, Windows, or Linux systems.

Where to Learn UX Design

If you would like to learn how to use software like InVision, Sketch, Adobe XD, and Figma in order to switch to a career in UX/UI design, one of the best ways to do that is to sign up for classes. You can choose classes that meet in-person or online to learn design software and other applications. Some people prefer to attend brick-and-mortar sessions when learning new information, but that isn’t always available. Live online classes have a similar set-up with a real-time, remote instructor who can answer questions and take control of your monitor—with permission—to show you how to do things. Training is part or full-time and available weekdays, weeknights, or weekends.

The best way to prepare for a career shift to a field like UX design is to enroll in a bootcamp or certificate program. These are intensive training courses that run from a few weeks to a few months and will cover motion graphics and animation in much more depth than tutorials can. Another plus of training is that you will leave class with a professional-quality sample video portfolio that you can show to prospective employers.


It’s easy to learn UX design and start a new career. Check out Noble Desktop’s UX design classes. Choose between in-person sessions in NYC at Noble’s location or sign up for live online UX design courses and attend from anywhere. Use Noble Desktop’s Classes Near Me to find other UX design bootcamps in your area.