Very recently I was introduced to this art of demonstration by an Internet bud of mines. The experience was amazing since not only was I able to learn a new product/website demonstration technique but I also learnt new software as well (Fireworks CS3/4).
So What is Wireframing ?
Wireframing is a technique used to demonstrate not only the eventual physical appearance of the product/website but also can be used to demonstrate functionality and special effects such as rollover buttons and both simple and multi-levelled drop down menus.
What Software can I use to produce Wireframes? Are any of them free?
There are a variety of software which can be used for wireframing. The range from Microsoft© Visio to Macromedia® or Adobe® Dreamweaver® to Fireworks® to a variety of other software. Unfortunately, all of these software would have required some initial purchase for you to use them to their full capacity.
There is a component of the OpenOffice.org Suite (which can be downloaded here) which can be used to perform wireframing and the best of it is that the Suite is totally free to download and use and may be used for any purpose i.e. personal/commercial. (Please note that since the suite is an opensource alternative to Microsoft Suite, the size may be similar.)
Why Wireframe using Fireworks®?
I have many reasons: The main one being that you can construct your entire website from within this software. The others being:
- rollover effects
- simple or complex drop down menus
- you can create all elements, the size you want it from inside of fireworks
- supported images can be imported and resized easily.
- When adding gradients, you just have to select the object and change the fill effect to gradient, choose the selected gradient and voila, automatic effect. You can also change the opacity or the amount of colors used for that custom effect
- Master Template Pages can be created so that every page you create would carry the same exact effect and themes.
- buttons and banners etc can be auto-generated and positioned on page.
And that’s about it for now.