It’s okay, you can admit it… Most of us have fallen victim to assuming that a wireframe, prototype, and mockup are exactly the same.
However, confusing wireframes with prototypes is like assuming that an architect’s blueprint (a detailed plan of a building-to-be) and a show house are the same thing. In reality, these two things are quite different.
Knowing whether a prototype or a wireframe is best suited for your business can be tricky. We talk to companies reach out asking where they should start all the time, so we figured we’d share our knowledge here.
What is Prototyping?
Prototyping refers to the act of creating a model of a product so that it can be tested by users before you expend valuable development time on creating the actual product.
In the context we are using here, prototypes encompass everything from simple sketches of the product interface right through to dynamic interactive computer models of the product.
The design phase for mobile applications should always include a prototyping stage. It is at this point that users can actually get their hands on your product or concept and give you valuable feedback that will determine the final designs before you begin development.
Prototypes are invaluable for testing ideas and iterations of a product in design prior to the actual development taking place.
What are Wireframes?
Wireframes are a more complex approach to mapping out your product. They are more detailed than sketches, which makes it easier to formally test ideas and see if they work in practice.
In general, the look of the finished product isn’t so important at the wireframing stage – you don’t need to make these things pretty, but you do need to include enough detail so that you can see how the wireframe performs with users.
So, what’s the difference?
Wireframes serve as the skeleton of your digital product. They’re the base, and they provide a general idea of the construction of what you’re building.
On the other hand, prototypes are a more visual representation of your product.
While there are tools out there that can serve as an all-in-one solution to go from sketches to prototypes, we recommend asking experts to help with this process.
Our cross-functional teams of experienced experts at Koombea are made up of strategists, designers, and developers who are able to help our clients explore what’s possible, and bring their ideas to reality.
Want to schedule a free consultation? Contact us today!