Why Wireframe?

Many a time, project managers in the process of creating an awesome website for a client often jump straight from a client brief, into building the required web pages. I have recently come to learn that regardless of how exciting this process might be, it is probably much like an architect building a house without the blueprint. That’s right, even web designers need their very own blueprint, but in our world, it’s often referred to as a Wireframe.

Wireframing:

Wireframing is a fun and important step in the web development process which requires a small investment of time prior to starting a project, but saves you from losing a lot of time later down the line. I guess many designers and project managers in the web industry have previously had experience of sending a first mock up to a client, complete with dummy logos, and lorem ipsum, only to have the client return with comments that focus purely on the aesthetic of the dummy logo, and not on the functionality of the page itself. The danger with this is, the client isn’t getting the opportunity to witness the full birth of their new website – and are instead seeing things from a half grown perspective. I wholeheartedly understand why that can get confusing for clients, because they won’t be sure if what they are seeing is the final thing, or a design proposal.

That is where the wonderful wireframe comes to play, to eliminate the gap between great ideas and great confusion. A wireframe is a simple way of understanding the layout of a website from a structural level. It allows you to reflect on the client’s brief and use what you know to arrange their content in the most efficient way, and also to define the information hierarchy of your page designs. For both designers and clients, it’s the best way to imagine the layout and interaction of their page without being distracted by cute typography and pretty colours.

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As illustrated above, it will always involve a header, a body, and a footer – everything else can be structured within that, including columns, grids, and spaces to put images at a later stage of the designing journey.

Benefits:

The great thing about including wireframing as part of your project’s process is that it allows you to take a step back from the computer, pick up a pencil and some paper, and draw to your hearts content (along with your clients content). I find that drawing my wireframe by hand first, allows me to understand the fundamental calls to action and other interactions needed on a page. This process becomes a lot more intuitive when it is mindful of the client’s content. Here, you are creating the Information Architecture of the site – yayy, you’re an Architect!

Once I am happy with my drawing, I proceed to recreate it within a wire framing software so that it is in suitable condition/presentable enough to share with a client. Some great digital tools you could use include Go Mockingbird, MyBalsamiq, and Ux Pin. Once I have created my wireframe digitally, I invite the client to view it and comment on the layout, allowing us to work together to implement any fundamental structural changes needed at an early stage. One of the greatest benefits I find is knowing that the project becomes more efficient with wire framing and also UX time too, if the client is able to expand their budget to accommodate that as part of the services they choose. It saves designers and project managers alike from having to later undo big designs or custom coded work, so, happy wireframing!

Working from the office

Here’s where you’ll find everything you need to know about working from the office.

The space

The office is located at Impact Hub Westminster, 1st Floor New Zealand House, 80 Haymarket in London, just down the road from Piccadilly Circus.

It’s a shared space with many positive organisations and it’s a great place to meet good people. It consists of an open plan office space, meeting rooms, a café, a kitchen, and two event spaces. At all times you must follow any rules set out by the Impact Hub hosts. The hosts are the lovely people that look after the space and everyone in it. They sit at a desk opposite the main entrance by the lifts and next to the café, and are very helpful should you have any questions about life at the Hub. 🙂

Access

You’ll be issued with a swipe card to access the building. You can use this at any time when the space is open. If you lose your swipe card, inform a host ASAP and they will issue you with a new one. Never allow others to enter the building using your card. You can also use the back entrance to exit and enter the building during breaks, but you can only enter through this door if you have exited through it first.

If you need to bring guests into the space, you should register them 24 hours or more in advance using the online registration form (ask a team member or host for the link), or by adding them downstairs at security on the day. Guests must sign in before they enter the building and should return their passes to security when they exit.

Time spent at the office

You can enter the building as often as you like but as a company, we pay for the typical amount of time that you expect to work there in an average month. Therefore, if you ever expect this to vary significantly, you should inform a company director who will ensure that we pay the appropriate fees.

Where to sit

You can sit at any table that has space and that isn’t marked by the flag of another company. You’ll soon realise that we tend to sit together at the “usual table” as we are creatures of habit, but there’s no harm mixing it up from time to time.

Meeting rooms

If you want to use a meeting room you must first check with the hosts to ensure that it’s available. If you know that you will need one for a meeting, then it is advisable to book in advance byt emailing hosts@hubwestminster.net. Use of the meeting rooms is fairly costly, so although you’re allowed to use them whenever you need to, we request that you don’t book them out willy-nilly. Similarly, if you book one and then don’t need it, you must inform the hosts otherwise we will get charged for it and others will be unable to use it.

Lunch and breaks

Just like when you are working at home, you can take breaks whenever you need them. Just let someone know so that we don’t send out a search party for you. You can do whatever you like for lunch, whether you want to bring your own from home, grab something from our office café, or pop out to one of the many nearby cafés and sandwich shops. It is entirely up to you.

From time to time we go out for lunch as a team but that is nearly always arranged in advance so you’ll know about it.

Keeping tidy

As a shared space, it makes life more pleasant for everyone when we all make an effort to keep it clean and tidy. In particular, you must do your own washing up in the kitchen.

Health and safety

Please keep your eye out for hazards in the office, and do your best not to create hazards such as trailing wires or bags left where people could trip. If you see something that could present a risk, either fix the issue immediately if it’s safe to do so, or inform one of the hosts. If an accident happens, you must report it to one of the hosts who will call a first aider and will also record the incident in the accident book.

In the event of a fire, an alarm will sound. If you hear the fire alarm, please follow the signs to the nearest fire exit and take the stairs. Do not use lifts during this time. Once you are out of the building, follow the crowd to the fire assembly point across the road, or wait for the Hosts’ further announcements outside.

The Fire alarm is tested every Friday at 10:00am. During the test alarm, remain calm and do not take any action unless you are asked to do so.

You must also take note of our general health and safety policy.

Printer, Scanner and Wifi

The Hub provides use of the printer and scanner, and free wi-fi.

We try to avoid printing wherever possible, but should you really (really!) have to print something, then your swipe card activates the printers, and a member of the team can let you know what the default passcode is. Your user ID is the number on the front of your swipe card.

The printers do scan but most of us use an app to create pdf versions of physical documents (contracts etc). It’s called CamScanner and you can download it from itunes or Google Play.

Refreshments

The Hub Hosts provide us with free coffee (including decaf), tea, some herbal teas, milk (and some dairy free alternatives), sugar, water, cups, plates and cutlery. Make sure you keep the kitchen area tidy and wash your cups and anything else that you use.

There is an on-site cafe; called Cafe Think, that serves fresh food as well a wider range of hot drinks. Of course you can also bring your own food, just write your name on it and store it in the fridge.

Storage

If you need to leave something small at the office, then you can use our team locker. Just ask and you’ll be issued with a key. You can also leave items on top or underneath the locker, but only for short periods of time because it makes the space messy and the hosts might clear it away without you knowing where it went.

Impact Hub Westminster is a very safe environment but you must accept that you leave things there at your own risk.

Post

You will find Wholegrain post box in the corner opposite Host desk on first floor. Rachael and Mohib usually collect the post but if you are expecting post feel free to check here whenever you are in the hub. We share the first slot with two other companies, so you may need to look through to see what’s ours.

Toilets

Toilets are located on first floor next to the lifts and opposite the main Hub entrance.

Disciplinary procedure

We hope that we never have a situation where we need a disciplinary procedure but in case we do, here it is:

If you are found to be behaving in a manner that is disruptive, offensive, unprofessional or that goes against company policies, then a member of the team will sit down and have a chat with you about how we can stop it from happening again. We all make mistakes and if it’s at all possible, we feel that it is best to talk these things through.

If the same mistakes keep repeating and we’re not able to resolve them through dialogue, then we’ll give you a warning and if it still continues, you may be dismissed.

In the event that you do something that causes significant harm to an individual team member, or the Wholegrain Digital team as a whole, then you could be dismissed without warning. We sincerely hope that never happens.

Bereavement leave

In the tragic event that you lose someone close to you, we want to support you as much as possible and we understand that you’re likely to need some time off. We therefore offer bereavement leave as follows:

You can take one paid day off initially, plus a half or full day paid to attend the funeral, depending on the requirement. You may be able to take additional paid or unpaid leave if you need it but this is determined on a case by case basis, as every situation is different. You must therefore discuss this if you need additional time off.

Bereavement leave does not affect your annual holiday allowance. It is important to note that this does not just apply to the loss of immediate family, but anyone who is sufficiently close to you to make you feel that you need to take some time out.

If, on the other hand, you prefer not to take time off and could benefit from the distraction of work then of course that is also fine.