Importance of Wireframes, Mockups and Prototypes: How are they different?

Designing an application is no piece of cake. Apart from technical knowledge, there is also a lot of imagination, creativity, conceptualization and technology updates that need to work together.

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importance of wireframes mockups and prototypes
via: farshore

You want that your application is functionally accurate and also visually appealing. It is, therefore, necessary to differentiate and recognize the importance of various elements in the queue. However, small may be your development project, the importance of wireframes mockups and prototypes can never be neglected.

Serving an essential part in application development, the concept and meaning of these three are often known to be confused many times. Despite being more or less the same, there are several elements which need to be known. This difference between the three creates some critical elements of application development. This is, therefore, going to be our major discussion.

Importance of Wireframes Mockups and Prototypes

Since there are probable confusions in relation to these three elements of development, knowing them and their importance separately would be really good.

Wireframes

wireframe mockups
via: visual-paradigm

Whenever it is intended to design a mobile or web application, you will need to have an idea, basically a sketch of how the page should look like. It is very important that the idea and concept are very clear to the designer. Apart from the design, you would also need to decide how functionality will be delivered through the application.

The first draft of the design and application flow would be defined based on business concepts. The designer would then make sure what buttons, fields would be placed and how the application would actually look like. This is the purpose of a wireframe.

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A Wireframe would be better explained as a visual illustration of a webpage showcasing all of its features and the way it would be represented. The static page layouts become a major guide for the development team. Generally, wireframe mockups remain to be a part of software requirement specification.

Understand better with this video:

Wireframes do not possess any specific color or frames; they are just static draft layouts of the design. You may, however, be able to prepare an initial draft as to what is required. At this stage there is no need of adding logo or pictures, it’s just a process to ascertain how things would look when finished. You may refer some wireframe examples which may be easily available over the web.

Importance of Wireframes

wireframe examples
via: onextrapixel

As explained earlier, a wireframe is the layout of a website, demonstrating its key functional elements. It can also be called a Blueprint of the website that is up for development. It is also known as page schematic. It helps in a better visual understanding of a webpage in its early phases of development. The importance of wireframes in a summarized manner is explained as under:

  • Wireframes help in defining the website’s usability as it gets through the development process.
  • With these the designing process gets iterative, because of perfect equilibrium between creative aspects and website layout, taking up one step at a time.
  • Wireframes are time savers. As you may be able to calculate the entire designs of the project, you can look forward to accurate changes whenever required and also timely submissions. Bringing up a clear picture of the expected result, it aids paced-up development.

Mockups

Mockups design
via: mockplus

Mockups can be called more alive pictures of a website than a wireframe. They are more versatile with respect to the visual appeal, fonts, themes, colors, buttons, logo etc. This is the stage where notes, fields, navigation menu etc for a design are specified. Though it’s a static page layout, a mockup brings up an even clearer picture of the final product. A mockup website or app is the exact representation of how the application or website will actually look like on its completion.

Mockups design is created with an objective of reviewing and verifying the perfection of the final design before its launch. This helps in preventing any requests for changes post-launch of the application or website. This can, therefore, be regarded as the key step in the process of website or application development. Their use is not limited to the development team or internal testing teams but can be presented well before the client as for how the final result is going to appear.

Importance of Mockups

mockup website
via: elegantthemes

Creating better visualization than wireframes, Mockups make up an important part in website or application development. Here are some more points of importance listed down:

  • By adding details like graphics, colors, layouts, and typography, Mockups help in an elaborated visual presentation.
  • They make a clear picture of the product and the probable completion it can pose and has to face with other similar websites in the market.
  • Mockups successfully give you a rough idea of how the website may function. In comparison to wireframes, they stand much closer to the final product.

Prototype

prototyping tools
via: uxdesign

A prototype is when you shift from UI (User Interface) to UX (User Experience). Prototypes are created to let the users operate the application, where several actions can actually be performed. It lets you have a check on the capabilities and proper functioning of the application. It clarifies the users’ interaction with the application which is the actual intention of a prototype. With this, the users attain an experience about the website or application’s performance.

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By clicking the buttons, users are able to enter field information and also check the operational flow as per requirements. Testing the prototype application allows the identification of loopholes in the design flow if any. This ensures perfection before final publishing. There are many prototyping tools that are easily available which let you create interactive prototypes on mobiles, desktop, and web. This is something of great importance for the software engineers, UX/UI designers, product managers and developers at various levels.

Importance of Prototypes

prototyping tools
via: canvasflip

A Prototype being a stimulation of the final expected product, it holds on a vital role for testing the usability and functionality of an application. Therefore, it can also be called a high fidelity model of mockups. Prototypes are important for the following reasons:

  • To avoid any glitches before coding actually begins for the development of website or application.
  • It saves time and money for the developers as they know what exactly is to be made.
  • Since the outcome and the plan are ready, there would be fewer problems arising during the development phase.

An overview like the one elaborated above would surely help you to reduce redundancy and follow proper standards. Also, recognizing the importance of wireframes mockups and prototypes will let you make their appropriate use with no iterations.