Wireframe tools allow you to visualize how you want your website to look. Some wireframe tools allow you to create basic prototypes of your website design, for example a static screen mockup. Other wireframe tools allow the user to create more advanced prototypes, which include interactive elements that a user can interact with, for example by clicking on a link to another page, or simply showing the content of a drop-down menu or picking a date from a date picker.
Static wireframes are appropriate when you want to create a fast and basic prototype of a website. This is particularly useful in the initial stages of a design concept. A static wireframe may be a paper prototype sketch, a design of the user interface created in a graphics tool or a mockup designed in a specialized wireframing tool. In a static wireframe, the focus is on the layout and the visual elements. You can use this static wireframe to show users your designs and ask for feedback. This will give you time to change any problems that may arise early on while prototyping.
Clickable wireframes are often used in the next stage of the design process, or when you are interested in describing or experiencing the functionality of the website and the real user experience. If your clickable wireframe links to other pages in your prototype, you can use these wireframes in user testing to see how your end users will navigate around your page. This will enable you to see what steps your users take to find information or solve certain tasks. If your clickable wireframe involves other modes of interaction, you can also perform usability tests with your prototype to analyze and change any obstacles your users may encounter before implementation.
Wireframes are often a very useful way to prototype your website. Static wireframes are more basic than clickable wireframes and can often be produced more quickly, depending on how detailed they are. High-fidelity static wireframes may also focus more on the visual aspects of the future website. Clickable wireframes are used to prototype the interactive functions of a website. With both forms of wireframing, it is useful to get feedback from end users, so you can change any features that could be problematic before programming begins.