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Friday 24 November 2017
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Wireframes Versus Prototypes: The Fundamental Differences Between The Two

“Good design is about process, not product.” – Jared Sinclair, Designer and Developer at Bloglovin

Are you considering building a new website as part of your latest marketing strategy? If so, the next point to consider is whether you employ internal developers or whether you outsource the entire project to a specialist website design and development agency.  

Considering the many different stages involved in the website development lifecycle, and the fast-changing technological mobile landscape, it is a good idea to make sure that you procure the best mobile UI design services at Polished Pixels rather than employ development staff.

Furthermore, it is important to note that UI/UX design and testing is a vital part of the website development life cycle. Moreover, as the quotation mentioned above by Jared Sinclair states, not only is good design an iterative process, it is fundamental to the development of a successful website, one that ticks all the boxes regarding usability and user-friendliness.

The website development lifecycle: Wireframes and prototypes?

Design methodologies and terminologies can be complicated and difficult to understand. However, it is not a valid reason for designers to ignore the importance of including the wireframe and prototype parts of the website development lifecycle.

Therefore, let’s have a look at what wireframes and prototypes are, their function in the development lifecycle, as well as what the differences between them are.

Wireframes:

Typically, a wireframe is a black and white sketch of each page of the website layout, navigation, calls-to-action, as well as how each page slots together into the overall design of the website. It is worth noting that a wireframe excludes colour, graphics, and other stylistic elements of the site. Its primary purpose is to determine the site’s usability, user-friendliness, and the ease with which users can answer the site’s calls-to-action.

Wireframing is an iterative process. Wireframes are built, put through usability testing, modified based on the usability testing results, and so on until the website’s user interface and user experience will allow the user to answer the site’s calls-to-action.

Prototypes

A prototype, on the other hand, is the design model or first version of your website which includes the user interface design, user experience design, as well as the functionality. It aims to show the site’s functionality so that users can validate both the user experience as well as the site’s features.

The prototype’s goal is to show the final product, or as close to the final product as the developers can get. As with a wireframe, a prototype’s purpose is to test the website’s design, usability, and functionality before the final product is sent into production.

Prototype development and testing is also an iterative process. As with the wireframing aspect of the website’s development lifecycle, the prototype is developed, sent for user testing, changes are made based on the outcomes of the testing, and sent back to the testers. This process continues until the prototype works as per the design specification.

Final words

This article provides nothing more than a brief overview of the differences between prototypes and wireframes. For a more in-depth insight into wireframes and prototypes, have a look at https://www.polishedpixels.com.au/website-service/ux-usability-service-sydney/wireframing-prototypes.