With wireframes we structurally develop the information architecture whereas we make sure that it is a consistent and work flow oriented depiction of all elements.
Usually wireframe are used very early in the conception phase in order to display the basic layout of the information areas and interaction elements schematically. The first wireframes are usually paper prototypes in which optimizations and additions can easily be incorporated. Finally these sketches are transferred to digital wireframes in design software programs like Microsoft Visio, Adobe Fireworks or Axure RP.
Wireframes bring consistency and efficiency into the user interface. They serve as a basis for communication with all stakeholders as well as a template for the visual design, the prototype and the implementation. With wireframes it is possible to communicate as well as validate the concept with users at a very early stage in the process.