We are trying to focus on explaining the key factors that create a difference between wireframes, mockups, and prototypes. Let’s explore what are these and when they used? Wireframing is an important communication tool in any web or app project. They help you to understand your client thinking about what their needs really are and helps them define their project goals and what their primary focus should be.
A wireframe is a visual illustration of a web page, which showcases how each component of the web page, is organized and how it will look like. The page layouts are static and it is to guide the development team for starting the developments. Wireframes are generally part of software requirement specification documentation, to guide developers as well as testers on what the requirement is. The wireframes are not required to have specific fonts or colors, they are static draft layouts of the design. It is easy to make an initial draft to bring clarity on what is required? You do not need to add a logo or pictures at this stage. You can simply add the blocks with the name that this will be place or logo or banner.
Mockups are more alive pictures. They are visually more appealing, has colors, fonts, themes, buttons, logo, etc. At this stage labels of the fields, notes, font types, navigation menu, etc. are specified in the design. A mockup is also a static page layout, but it showcases how the final product will look like.
The objective of creating mockup designs is to review the final design before launching it. This is to prevent any change requests in design after launch. Therefore it is a key step for an application designer to make mockups of the final design. Mockups are not just used by the internal development and testing teams, but can also be shown to the client as it depicts how the final product will look like in detail.
The prototype is when we are shifting from User Interface (UI) design to User Experience (UX). Prototypes are created for the users to operate an application, perform its actions. It helps users to understand how the functionalities in an application will work. How users will interact with the interface designed? A prototype is intended to give users an experience of interaction with the application.
This stage of designing a mobile app or web page gives users an experience of how the system will perform. Users can click on the buttons, enter field information, and check the operational flow as per requirements. It allows users to test the prototype application and if there are any loopholes in the designed flow, it can be identified before final publishing and can be corrected.
The wireframe is very low-fidelity — simple boxes and text convey a concept. Next, the mockup has added logos, colors, and icons to make it more realistic. And finally, the prototype is usable and clickable.
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