In the user experience design, the visualization of the concepts and the prototipation are key for a good design. This translates into the design of wireframes, that are the structural representation of the software, application or web page in which we are working.
That let you focus on the system architecture and evaluate user behavior.
There are two types of wireframes: the “low level” in which there is no visual design, they are only lines and text and the “high level” that are more similar to reality and have some graphic.
Wireframes can be done with many softwares (Adobe Illustrator, Balsamiq Mockup, Microsoft Power Point, etc ..) and with pen and paper as well, but to be interactive and to test them with users we recommend Axure RP, a dedicated program that allows the creation of interactive HTML documents.
In which part of the design process is it recommended to create wireframes?
Wireframes support and are involved in the design process from the beginning until the end. Since the concept creation you can start working on the information architecture and the interaction. Once the concept is chosen and the functions are clear, you can draw more concrete sketches of the app.
It is important the creation of Personas that represents the end users and define use cases in order to create the best user experience and respond to the users needs. From the use cases, wireframes are made step by step, to document all interaction.
It is suggested to test them with users to be sure they are intuitive and easy to use.
Once approved them, the visual designer can work the graphic and the programmer or engineer can make it work.