Do you have trouble distinguishing between wireframing, prototyping, and mock-ups? Are you one of those people who believes that all of these terms have the same meaning?
They are nothing more than synonyms for one another. If you answered yes, you are incorrect because terminology like wireframe, prototype, and mock-up are often used in UI/UX design.
Since these terms are frequently used interchangeably, it can be difficult to know when and how to utilize each one during the product development process? Choosing the right one at the right time guarantees that the proper amount of work is put in to create functionality that meets a genuine customer requirement.
What is Wireframing?
The wireframe is a low-fidelity (lo-fi) product of your UX/UI design that answers the following questions
- What kind of content will be available?
- Where will it be located?
- What kind of interaction will your user have with it?
Before you begin wireframing, keep the following in mind
- These drafts should be based on user research rather than the designer’s first instinct.
- It should take you as little time as possible to develop them.
- There should be no details and everything should be straightforward, succinct, and easy to grasp.
- When building wireframes, always use black and white colors and use color arrows and links to show where your CTAs will be and to reflect users’ actions.
When do you require it?
- Wireframes are a fantastic method to get the team involved in generating a design concept.
- It gives your customer a short overview of how everything works.
- Wireframes can also be used to collaborate with your client in the future. As a result, you should use collaborative software that allows all participants to post comments.
Some of the best tools for wireframing
It’s a low-fidelity wireframing tool that lets you draw everything on a whiteboard using your computer. It comes with hundreds of basic icons and components that you can use to quickly design wireframes, share them, and collaborate online.
As a result, if you enjoy sketching everything out on paper and collaborating with others online, Balsamiq is the app for you.
It’s a free and open-source wireframing tool that enables you to create simple diagrams and app wireframes for your website. It has a lot of shapes and diagrams that you may use to sketch out your design ideas. As a result, creating a wireframe with basic frameworks is a viable solution for you.
It’s a simple online wireframing tool that lets you make wireframes with basic elements like boxes, circles, photos, and lists, among other things. Any project can also be exported as PDF/PNG files for additional iteration and discussion.
It also works as an online tool, allowing you to access wireframes at any time and from any location.
Now, let’s talk about
What is Mockup?
It’s a representation of a detailed statistical design. It could be close to the final draft, or it could be your real design. It demonstrates
- The informational hierarchy
- The essential features (only in words, as this thing is still static)
- Colour schemes, fonts, and other features not visible in wireframes
Before you start creating mock-ups, keep the following in mind
- Take a second to consider the navigation. Will your users be able to find what they’re looking for on their own?
- Create a very detailed interface that incorporates the entire brand identity package.
- Some designers build mock-ups in black and white, but adding colors makes sense because you’ll be doing so anyhow in the next step.
When do you require it?
- If you need a demo version of your interface but the clickable design isn’t ready yet, this is the place to go.
- You can use them as design layouts before consumers submit you plenty of chances.
- Finally, before showing a pre-release, this is the stage where the last edits are made.
Some popular tools for creating mock-ups
It is a tool for making mock-ups on all major platforms, including mobile devices.
It comes with a library of components and icons that you may use without any coding experience. The drag-and-drop design expedites the completion of the task.
It is a web-based platform created exclusively for the needs of mock-up designers that require real-time communication.
It offers both free and premium versions, both of which have a simple drag-and-drop interface and access to icon libraries.
In addition, the tools allow you to export and import your designs.
What is Prototyping?
It’s an interface simulator, a medium-fidelity clickable depiction of your upcoming design. It is, in a nutshell, an interactive draft. It gives you the ability to
- Examine how everything works in real life if it’s all well-planned.
- Examine whether your concepts are reflected in the brains of your users.
Keep these things in mind before prototyping
- They should simply reflect future designs with minor differences (for example, buttons may not lead anywhere yet)
- Even if you’ve done black-and-white mock-ups before, they must be colored.
- You can ask them to help you with the backend if you need it. Some apps, on the other hand, allow designers to develop prototypes without having to code.
When do you require it?
- After you’ve approved the draft interfaces, utilize prototypes to test them with real users.
- Prototypes can demonstrate a variety of user scenarios (behavior scenarios)
- You can maintain them as project documentation as well.
- Before producing the final design, you could learn if there are any issues that can be resolved.
Some popular tools for prototyping
It is available for macOS, Windows and as a web editor. It’s a well-known program that lets you create prototypes that appear like the real user interface of a website or app. All you have to do now is specify the elements’ interactions. The good news is that they offer a free version of one team with limited functionality. The three editors, however, are included.
It’s a web-based platform for developing the site and mobile app prototypes. It allows you to make interactive user interface representations out of static photos of any fidelity level. Layer style, vector editing, and animation are all possible in the studio. Additionally, the tool is available for personal use at no cost. A paid option will be required if you wish to work with the team and receive immediate feedback.
Its web editor and apps for macOS and iOS have nearly identical functionality. Artboards with animated interactions demonstrate how everything will seem in the real world. Collaborative work and design import/export are also possible.
You can tell the difference between wireframing, prototyping, and Mockuping by going over the points listed above. Sketchy drafts (wireframes) are created first, followed by static visualizations (mock-ups), and eventually interactive design pieces (prototypes). The true UX/UI follows next, which is utilized to communicate the corporate values to the general public.