Wireframe directly in webflow: Here's why

If you don’t know about Webflow, you need to. 

Here at The Digital Panda, Webflow is our favourite website builder. It’s powerful, easy to use, and helps you create beautiful, fully customizable websites. (Yep, we’re obsessed.) Whether you’re a veteran designer or just starting out in the world of website building, Webflow is a great tool that easily adapts to your skills and needs. 

One of our favourite things to do with Webflow is wireframing. Here, you’ll learn about wireframing, why it’s so much easier in Webflow, and why you should use it if you’re not already.

First off, what is wireframing?

A wireframe is a visual guide that represents the most basic framework of a website. When you set up a wireframe, you’re figuring out where text goes, where your visuals are, and where you’ll put in links. When we talk about wireframing, we’re talking about that whole process of setting up those layouts. Wireframing is one of the most crucial steps in the process of building a website.

A website's wireframes on a black background

Some people also call wireframes their webpage prototypes. A prototype is the stripped-down, basic version of a product—in this case, your website. As designers, prototypes help us validate the idea, service, or function we’re trying to create. 

What is prototyping and what does it have to do with web design?

Prototyping is a crucial step when making high-level decisions about how you’re showing information on a website or app. At The Digital Panda, we share our prototypes with our clients regularly and early on in the process. This lets our clients know that we’re on track, keeps them involved, and ensures they’re happy with the direction we’re taking.

Once the prototype is developed and approved (ideally with the client's excitement), we start creating the finished, polished product. 

How do web designers wireframe? 

Before we dive into Webflow, let’s go over how designers typically create their wireframes and some of the issues they run into. Then, we’ll explore how wireframing in Webflow prevents and resolves those issues

Static comps

Most of the time, designers create “static comps” for websites they’re working on, which is designer-speak for super basic rough drafts. 

The problem with these comps is that they just don’t feel “real” enough or look enough like the final product to convince stakeholders, clients, or potential users (especially if they don’t have design backgrounds).

They also don’t tend to display correctly on different screen sizes. In other words, they’re not responsive between different devices, such as desktop, mobile, and tablets. Again, this is why mobile responsiveness is important: you can’t always be sure which device someone’s looking at the prototype on.

With static comps, you have to design separate comps for each screen size, and that’s a huge time-eater. Plus, some design elements that require a bit more logic (i.e., search bars and contact forms) don’t always work properly in the static comps.

You end up with all these little imperfections and added steps that would frustrate anyone. If you’re showing these static comps to your clients and stakeholders and they have no background in design, they’re gonna have an even harder time getting on board with your prototype. They won’t be able to imagine the end results once it comes to life. They’ll ask questions and request changes. All of this burns time, drives up project costs, and obstructs your vision.

But, we’re not here to trash traditional static comps. These prototypes have some positive aspects as well: they’re very quick for a designer to make and allow for commenting on specific areas of the design.

Why web designers should use Webflow to wireframe

So, how does wireframing directly in Webflow solve all of these problems? 

1. It adapts to your screen

With Webflow, the wireframe prototypes we create are completely responsive in both mobile and desktop formats.

That means a website we’re designing will automatically resize itself according to the screen it’s being viewed on. For example, here’s a page that’s being viewed on various devices:

A tablet, desktop computer, laptop, and mobile phone all display the same website landing page, each screen has adapted the webpage to fit its size.

With Webflow, we can test layouts with the client and make sure they work for both of those formats (and other screens too, like tablets). This helps us iterate and create more and more polished drafts continuously—and quickly.

2. The comps are a great representation of the final product

The difference becomes obvious when, with few adjustments, your prototype becomes fully responsive.

Open it on a tablet—no problem.

Review it on a mobile screen—works like a charm.

Just click the link and your prototype will open in the browser just like a website. Input fields, hover effects, search bars, and drop-down menus all behave and work as expected.

Adding simple animated micro-interactions? Just a matter of clicks.

The Webflow prototype feels real because, well, it is real. When you show it to your stakeholders and clients, they can really get a sense of how the website will look and function once it’s live. 

3. It saves time and makes everyone happier—including you

Because you’re wireframing directly in the app and it’s doing all of this lovely automatic and responsive work for you, you don’t have to waste time recreating wireframes for different formats. Just drag and drop pre-made components, edit the copy, and you’re good to go. 

And since it’s fully customizable, you can have fun with the process while bringing your vision (or your stakeholders’ vision) to life! It’s super easy to customize the templates, but even in their default state, they’re perfect for quickly building up a beautiful and functional website.

Ready to start building wireframes in Webflow?

Let’s quickly recap.

  • Wireframe prototypes are the outlines of your website—visual building blocks of how it’ll look and function. 
  • Static comps are a traditional type of wireframe, but they don’t always give a good representation of the final product. They aren’t interactive or responsive, and you’ll have to create a lot of them before you can move on to the next steps.
  • Wireframing directly in Webflow is the best way to build a website because it’s fast, responsive, and gives you a clearer vision of how your website will look once it’s live.

So, if you haven’t tried it already, check out Webflow. Save time, make your stakeholders happy, and have fun with the interactive process. 

After all, that’s what sets good designers apart from great ones (among other things, but those are blog posts for another day).

Some more good reads

Infographic: Anatomy of a well designed website

Rhythm in design: Why and how to leverage it

Why you need stakeholder buy-in (& how to get it)

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