Ah, the wireframe. The bread-and-butter of the UX designer. The IA’s best friend. And possibly, the bane of your existence. It all depends on how you view them.
Wireframes are an indispensable tool for design thinking—a digital sketch pad—ready to be drawn and erased, scrapped or resurrected at any moment. A working documentation used to establish the language, content, and structure of interactions users will have with the product. They are a fundamental part of the design process and vary in fidelity depending on how dogmatic your beliefs about their purpose.
The UX community is certainly divided on this point. There are those who will defend the lo-fi wireframe to the death, swearing off high fidelity wireframes as visual candy and premature over-designing and emphasizing the importance of not getting “design” mixed in with Information Architecture and functionality at this stage.
And then there are those who swear by the hi-fi wireframe. Their argument being that these artifacts are the easiest way to get a client/user to understand the full context in which a product or service is to be interacted with and function.
However, the truth is neither of these implementations (nor any variation in-between) is the be-all, end-all way to wireframe. As with anything we do in designing the user experience, it all comes down to context. What do you need to accomplish with the wireframes? Who is the audience? Are you over-designing when you should be more focused on the pure interaction and user task flow? And, conversely, should you be providing more of an authentic experience for the user to have familiarity and leverage their experiences with similarly designed elements?
There is no right way to wireframe. You must understand the context and the requirements for the project and move ahead accordingly. Know that regardless of the fidelity of the wireframe, it is still simply a tool in the design process that you can utilize to quickly get feedback, prove out your design decisions and help you make a better product.