Wireframe vs. mockup vs. prototype: How are they various?


Web Development

Developing products and solutions is a dangerous and resource-consuming endeavor. The good news is, there are equipment designed to support us de-threat the complete course of action.

Say we are constructing a mobile app. It would be foolish to start off composing the code from day a person. Soon after all, we never but know what exactly we’re setting up, allow by yourself what it ought to appear like. Iterating on an actual app is the most costly type of iteration.

Which is why designers use various methods, these as wireframing, creating mockups, and prototyping, to test tips rapidly just before building an genuine products. But what is the difference involving a wireframe, a mockup, and a prototype?

Let’s take a closer glimpse at every single and see how they assess.

Desk of contents

What is a wireframe?

A wireframe is a rapid sketch that demonstrates an notion. It is carried out using a graphical tool, windows paint, or even a pen and piece of tissue.

There are a few major reasons to create a wireframe:

  1. It assists us visualize our wondering — As they say, a photo is value 1,000 words and phrases. Some points are just drastically less difficult to exhibit than to explain
  2. It aligns people today — Wireframes give teams a thing specific to refer to. It mitigates the danger of persons visualizing wholly distinctive matters and receives absolutely everyone on the same site
  3. It constructions conversations The potential to position to a particular style and design component is a activity-changer

Say we’re talking about what the movement of our app need to search like. If we just communicate about it, we’ll have trouble achieving any selection. But if all people sketches out what they imagine the person movement to search like, we’ll have one thing particular to evaluate and evaluate.

Wireframe Example
A rapid wireframe can conserve hrs of infinite conversations and misunderstandings.

Time needed: About 2 minutes.

What is a mockup?

A mockup is a wireframe taken to the subsequent amount. It’s typically carried out in a graphic application by possibly a UX designer/products manager (very low-fidelity) or a UI designer (medium/higher-fidelity).

The objective of a mockup relies upon intensely on its fidelity, so let us split it down.


A minimal-fidelity mockup is a digitalized, far more believed-as a result of edition of the wireframe. A UX designer or item manager usually does these.

The objective of small-fidelity wireframes is to exhibit what the app’s composition is intended to search like. It helps you examine the in general consumer encounter.

Reduced-fidelity mockups are employed to evaluate:

  • Person flows
  • Facts architecture
  • Navigation
Example Of A Low-Fidelity Mockup
Lo-fi mockups support everyone comprehend the in general architecture and structure of the app.

Time demanded: About 15 minutes.


Medium-fidelity mockups are born when we get our low-fidelity mockups and start introducing shades and branding.

While we continue to assess issues these as the all round construction, information and facts architecture, and so on., we also focus on the general glimpse and come to feel of the app: How does the visible illustration come to feel? What kind of information does it ship? Is it accessible and intuitive?

We do not yet concentrate on aspects. The duplicate is not best pics are placeholders and buttons still need to have some rounding. A high-degree assessment is what we’re searching for.

Medium-fidelity mockups are made use of to assess:

  • Total seem and sense
  • Branding
Example Of A Medium-Fidelity Mockup
Medium-fidelity mockups make it possible for us to assess the look and feel of the application.

Time expected: About 2 several hours.


A significant-fidelity mockup is our stop-merchandise prospect. Every dot and pixel is now in its put. Now we can get picky and concentration on details and ending touches.

At the time we’re finished, the high-fidelity mockup can be handed over to the improvement team for implementation.

Substantial-fidelity wireframes are made use of to assess:

  • Aesthetics
  • Design information
  • Graphics and copy
Example Of A High-Fidelity Mockup
A large-fidelity mockup enables us to emphasis on particulars and ending touches.

Time essential: About 5 hours.

Minimal- vs. medium- vs. large-fidelity mockups

How do you make your mind up which stage of fidelity to emphasis on? The answer is straightforward: you really don’t.

Different stages of fidelity not only serve various purposes, but are also additive. We use a lower-fidelity mockup as a basis for a medium-fidelity just one, which then is turned into a superior-fidelity close-product or service.

Table Comparing Low-, Medium, And High-Fidelity Mockups

It could be tempting to jump into higher-fidelity mockups quickly, but it’s almost never well worth it.

To start with, any modifications to hello-fi mockups are much more costly than adjustments to lo-fi mockups or even wireframes.

It’s also challenging to concentrate on the massive image when evaluating hello-fi mockups. It is quick to get fixated on the shade all over the CTA button, even if we’re not yet guaranteed if we want to have a CTA there. Which is 1 of the good reasons lo-fi mockups are colorless and clear-cut: to market a emphasis on the massive picture vs. irrelevant specifics.

We need both low-fidelity and higher-fidelity mockups to certainly get the most out of the style and design phase.

Mockup vs. prototype

The prototype is born when we incorporate interactions to a mockup. Just like in the case of mockups, the fidelity of prototypes may differ drastically.

We can virtually use parts of paper to create a small-fidelity prototype and test the original reaction. On the other hand, the entirely-fledged and in depth prototype is typically indistinguishable from the genuine software.

https://www.youtube.com/check out?v=yafaGNFu8Eg

An instance of a paper prototype.

Opposite to static mockups, prototypes allow for us to encounter conversation as a total. We can faucet on matters, see how the designs modify, and generally “feel” the product. We wouldn’t get the identical encounter (nor suggestions) if we just confirmed the mockup to our prospective consumers and questioned them to choose it.

If we’re making a really progressive consumer move, we really should start prototyping it as early as probable. On the other hand, if we structure a battle-analyzed user journey, these types of as a normal e-commerce circulation, we can help you save income and concentrate on higher-fidelity prototyping.

How to wireframes, mockups, and prototypes in good shape jointly?

Wireframes, mockups, and prototypes perform a important position in product enhancement, and they all provide a various intent.

Wireframes support us visualize our considering and make improvements to collaboration. Mockups then make it possible for us to assess and gather responses on facts architecture, glimpse and truly feel, and intrinsic facts. We can assist the course of action with prototypes to collect even much more detailed feedback.

Table Comparing Wireframe Vs. Mockup Vs. Prototype

In a best entire world, where by time and revenue are no object, you really should get all of the subsequent steps:

  1. Start with wireframes to create knowing
  2. Establish a small-fidelity mockup to evaluate the higher-level composition
  3. Confirm with a paper prototype
  4. Develop a medium-fidelity mockup to determine the total seem and come to feel
  5. Affirm with a electronic prototype
  6. Create a high-fidelity mockup to consider the effects
  7. Simulate a true app expertise with a specific prototype
  8. Make an application

In observe, however, it is okay to skip some ways. It all depends on your self confidence, sources, and the risk you are eager to take.

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