Fundamental Differences In Wireframes, Prototype And Mockups

Posted on November 1, 2019
Kevin Bell

The introduction of mobile phones and smart phones have brought about a drastic change in our daily lives. From mobile applications available for entertainment to banking to social media applications, there is no dearth of mobile applications. There are numerous applications being developed and launched daily. Companies invest a lot of funds on research and developing of these applications. But have you ever wondered what it takes to build a successful application?

The following help give a clear picture of how to build and develop an application:

  • Wireframes
  • Mockups
  • Prototype

Wireframes, Mockups and Prototype are completely different from each other.

Wireframes for mobile applications and websites:

When building an application or a website we need to have a sketch or a framework or guideline of how we want the website or application to look what will be the features and what the purpose of the application or website will be, wireframes do that work. It gives a visual representation in black white of what should go where. In a wireframe design a general outlook of how the application or websites final out look will be can be visualized. This helps to add or remove any features if it does not work with the framework of the design.  Wireframes are a very basic idea where an idea is conceptualized and sketched.


Mockups are a visual form of representation of your wireframe design be it your application or website. In a mockup you can visually represent how your application will look like in terms of color, what features will go, what the style of the application and website will be like. Mockups like the initial drafts created in order to capture the idea. Mockups are the dry run of how the application will look what and how its features are to be placed. In a mockup it’s a dry run to see how the website or mobile application will look like.


Once the mockup is created you have a decent idea of the website or application will look like, what is to be placed where and how. This mockup is then turned into a prototype design where the features of the mobile application and website can be used. The reason behind building and creating a prototype is so that before the final product is developed, it can be test run to see what is missing , if there are any glitches in the prototype and how to best improvise and build an application or website that can be launched without any errors.

Why Prototypes are Essential?

Prototype design and prototype development play an important role when it comes to creating a building a website or a mobile application. It is essential even more so in the case of mobile applications, a shaving a prototype design and developing a prototype for an application can save cost and time. As a prototype is already built you can change and upgrade in the same prototype design or try to derive new innovations by working on the existing prototype.

Some prototypes are built with a user interface design. A user interface design prototype is nothing but where users engage in and work with the prototype design built for an application.  A user interface design has the following advantages:

  • Users can work and use the prototype as it will have the features of the final product we want to develop; this gives the developers an idea of how the application will function and perform once it is developed into a product.
  • Sometimes while building a prototype, developers may add a few extra features or keep it way to minimalistic, a user interface prototype will help developers to finding a balance and adding in the correct number of features without making it to complex.
  • Knowing who the target audience are and testing the prototype with these target audience will prove beneficial as they will be able to give an honest feedback about what they like and do not like about the application.
  • Prototype designing and developing always gives us room to improve and make way for further developments and upgrades.

There are fundamental differences between wireframes, mockups and prototype.




A basic sketch of the application or website. A visual representation of how the application and website will look. A prototype design which looks like the mobile application.
Does not involve a user participation. Just a mockup, in terms of design and feature of how the application will look. Involves user participation where the prototype is used.
Layout of what feature should go where, how the application or website can look like. A draft where none of the features work, but just a visual form of the application including the features color scheme and other details. As good as the finished product, helps in testing the anomalies that may arise and fixing all problems before developing into the application.


Building and developing an application or a website is not an easy task. It takes a lot of research, time, money and effort to develop an application. Right from drawing up website wireframe to prototype design to finally launching a successful application, developers face many hurdles and challenges. this is where a wireframe design, mockups and prototypes come to their rescue. Each task helps them come step closer to building a successful mobile application. Wireframes, mockups and prototype though different from each other, contribute towards helping build a successful application and website.