If you’re a UI or UX designer, you will have heard about prototyping and wireframing for designs. The terms prototype and wireframe may be used together to describe the same process, but they are different, and if you don’t know the difference, then we will tell you about it.
We will look into prototypes and wireframes and talk about what they are, why they are used when designing, and how you can use both in your designs.
What Are Prototypes?
Creating a prototype for your design is about creating an interactive experience that resembles your product and what it would be like to use it. A prototype is closer to the final product that people will get to use. The wireframe is designed first, which comes after the designer is happy with the product’s design.
Types Of Prototypes
There are two main types of prototyping you can create. These are the low-fidelity prototypes and the high-fidelity prototypes.
This is a quick depiction of what the product will look like to help the designers understand what needs to be changed and what works in the design process. This prototype doesn’t provide much interactivity and usually lets the designer click on different elements to change the screen. This can be easily put together and doesn’t require much effort.
High Fidelity Prototype
This is an interactive prototype that lets the designer use the product. They can interact with it and find out what it will be like to use the actual product and how people will feel using its features. This type of prototype resembles the final product closely.
This prototype can be used for testing with the product’s target users. They can give feedback on what they like and what they would change. The designer can use this user feedback to make necessary changes before launching the final product.
Benefits Of Creating A Prototype
Learning About What The Target Users Want
Using prototypes helps determine what the target users of the product want. The prototype can be used for testing with focus groups that are made up of the product’s target users. Before the actual product is launched, the designer can get feedback about what needs to be changed or completely removed from the product.
This ensures product users will have the best experience and a great first impression can be made.
Can Be Used For Usability Testing
Users can test the product and perform the actions they would in the actual product. The designer can then check if everything is working and what can be done to improve the product’s design. If there are any usability issues, the designer can fix them quickly. If you need more help to fix any problems, you can hire a UX design company to support you in improving the product.
Downsides Of Creating A Prototype
Creating a prototype can be expensive, depending on the prototype you need, and it can take the time you may not have. Prototyping can require design skills that you haven’t learned yet. That’s why some designers hire a UX UI design agency to help them create prototypes for their products.
How To Create A Prototype
A designer can make two main choices when creating a prototype. They can create a prototype using design software, or they can create a native prototype. A native prototype requires coding.
A native prototype is needed for complex products where design software isn’t enough. If you need to capture data and check how the product will behave, then a design software prototype will not be enough. You can hire a UX UI design agency to help you create one if you don’t know how to code.
If a design software prototype is enough, you can look for the best design software for your needs. You can use different tools, and some will offer features that others don’t. Decide on what your prototype will need to have, and then look for the right design software.
What Are Wireframes?
Wireframes show a static version of the different screens your product has. These are used to show designers what the different screens of the product will look like and how they are linked to each other. They can be used to make improvements to the relationships between pages.
They can be used to help designers figure out what the design of the actual product will look like. This will help the designer avoid mistakes in the design process, as the wireframes can be made quickly and easily changed.
Wireframes are usually created early during the design process. They should be created early, as any apparent problems with the design can be spotted and changed before it becomes difficult to make changes.
Benefits Of Creating A Wireframe
Understand The Product’s Design
To know more about the product’s design, you need to create a wireframe. Understanding the relationship between the different screens and how users will interact with them is a great way to make improvements and fix problems with the design before making these types of changes becomes harder.
Meet Product Design Requirements
You can use wireframes to check the design of the product meets all the requirements. If it doesn’t, then changes can be made to the wireframe easily. You can then use this wireframe to start making improvements to give users a better experience.
Downsides Of Creating A Wireframe
Wireframes aren’t terrific for testing the usability of the product’s design. That’s why they should be created before the prototypes and only used as a guide for the product’s design. This is why wireframes are usually created early during the design process.
How To Create A Wireframe
You can use design software to help you create wireframes. You can choose many options, and they make it easy to create the wireframes and make changes to them.
Designers can sketch wireframes by hand to quickly get their ideas on paper. This can help when brainstorming different ideas for the design.
Thanks for reading!
Also check out my other articles:
Beginner’s Guide to Creating User Personas
How to create user personas for a compelling user experience design process.