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A comparative study of wireframes, prototypes, and mockups

Posted on 24 August 2022

Introduction

As a designer, you must be aware of how these three are important in the UI/UX designing world. They let the designer check the suitability and usability of the design at every stage of the designing process. This way designer could assess the efficiency of his product for the target audience. They can navigate the designing process after assessing the efficiency of their product. Especially, in UX designing usability testing at an early stage of wireframe to the completing stages of the prototype holds extreme importance in defining the shape of the product in a way that could provide a valuable experience to its users.

If we have to use a metaphor then we describe the relation of wireframe, prototype, and mockup as the car where the wireframe is the car’ structure, the prototype is the engine while the mockup is the outer body of the car. Just as everything is well-coordinated with each other in a car structure to provide a beautiful and efficient car. Similarly, well-coordinated wireframe, prototype, and mockup provide the beautiful final product.

Without any further explanations, let’s just get straight into learning all about these three pillars of designing.

Wireframes

The plain definition of a wireframe in the designing world is a low-fidelity representation of an actual product. However, there is no need to remember such technical terms. Remember wireframes as the raw version or basic sketch that you may have made while making the presentation for your school project. Similarly, wireframes are the layout that a designer made to gather his/her thoughts and present them in a replica of the actual product. It is great to generate cohesion and flow in design.

Prototypes

After the wireframe, the second stage that carries extreme importance in UX designing is prototyping, which is the replica or working model of the actual product, app, or website. This helps the designer assesses the usability of the product. How do people use the product, how do they move from one function to another, what’s their level of ease, are they finding anything confusing, are the features, drawings, and buttons, are all relevant and fill their purpose, all these questions and many more are answered at this stage.

Mockup

Mockup is the high-fidelity representation of the final product. It explains the graphic side of the product. Though it carries more importance in UI designing, it explains to the designer how users will interpret the brand image through its visuals. It is the stage where designers have to satisfy all the problems that would have arisen at the wireframe and prototype stage.

Conclusion

After learning these brief definitions of wireframe, prototype, and mockup, we hope you would be able to distinguish their functionality of them. Many properties of these stages actually relate to each other. Although it is not some written rule that you need to undergo all these stages to form a design, if you learn about users’ experiences at every stage of your design then definitely you would be able to create a product that interacts with the target right away. Moreover, you will learn a lot. So, it is a kind of win-win situation for you.

To learn more about UI/UX design, read our other blogs.

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