Zakary thanks for opening a discussion on this. Like a lot of other commenters have mentioned, there’s a balance. 100% agree wireframes/pre-design need to be in a constant state of flux and we have had designers change a complete flow because at design phase many elements didn’t seem to work together visually and cognitively.
More importantly though, wireframes give the designer an indication on *weightage*. A complex screen needs to show element focus with respect to each other. To reduce cognitive load we have to prioritize information. Daniel Wiklund has stated two points on the same.
For example, there were 4 important graphs on a weather app. These were high accuracy, niche graphs for offshore drilling. A lot of these elements had to be balanced and weighted as per our user’s needs and a pure UI designer doesn’t have the time to go on the field and prioritize elements. The wireframe does it for them, not low-fi, rather wireframes created on Illustrator with comments on visual focus. Product Managers change elements as design comes into form, a constant evolution.
We have created ‘designframes’ for smaller projects that require a quick turnaround. An excellent method.
In the end we still get clients who would like to sign off on wireframes before going ahead with the design. We clearly tell them things can (and should) change over time. We are thankful they have at least heard of user experience and designing for their users rather designing for the owner’s significant other.