This post is a result of us doing research on both our existing clientele as well as the market in general and making sure we provide answers to the most common questions companies or potential clients have of the web design, development, and marketing process.
What is a (Web Design) Wireframe? Or What is a Wireframe Design?
First things first, before we get to pricing, let’s talk about what wireframes. In the course of designing a website, there are some pretty basic steps ALL web designers should take you through. Much of these steps (and the level of detail on these steps) will be dictated by both your developers’ experience, your own budget, and both your developer and your time. The larger the project, the higher the budget, and the more time you have to dedicate – generally speaking – the more detailed these initial steps will be. These initial steps include all of the planning phases, before any designs are presented or any coding begins.
Generally speaking these are:
- Audience – who is going to see the site, what do they need to know, how best to get their attention through words and pictures, etc.
- Sitemap – what are all of the pages and sections for the site and how will they relate to the audience.
- Wireframes – combining the above two resources for a guide of what content will need to be presented (and to whom) how exactly will each page look from a content perspective. A wireframe is simply a guide, using boxes, of where the designers will (most likely) put your final content in the final approved design.
Here’s an example of some wireframes:
Now these two wireframes are fairly small to fit here, but even small you can see what’s happening. The first image is a wireframe of a homepage. the very top white bar has some links, then there’s a black bar where the navigation will go, a central placeholder for a central image. The second wireframe is an example of an internal page. And here are examples of the final presented (and approved design)…
So now you can see how, from the wireframe, a final design is created. For a FINAL view of the website we used for this example (and created) you can visit Fishtale.com.
Standard Rate for Wireframe Design
Back to the initial question that was recently posed to us – what does a wireframe design cost? Well here’s the difficult part – a wireframe, be it one created digitally, or one sketched out on a notepad in our or your office – is included in almost EVERY project we do. Additionally, it’s not a stand alone step. In fact it’s one of the few steps that really can’t be done at all unless you go through the other aforementioned planning steps (mapping out your audience and mapping out your content). Although many times it can be skipped entirely on a simpler site.
However, if you positively absolutely have to have a number I would say that if you go through the above steps with a company, through the wireframe process (so this does not include an actual design presentation and then any coding) I would estimate the planning and wireframe creation to cost anywhere from $500 – $2500 depending on the complexity of your site and situation.
And that is the final idea to keep in mind – if you’re building a web application (let’s say a social network akin to facebook) your planning, and subsequent wireframes, will be MASSIVE and cost will expand in lockstep with the complexity of your project.
After all you will need designed pages to accomodate all of the different elements that go along with having a complex web application (what’s it look like when users login, is their an admin section?, what does that look like, etc.).
If you have any additional questions about wireframes, or want to add to the discussion please leave a comment and we’ll make sure to get back to you promptly.