What is the difference between a wireframe, prototype and MVP?

You often hear terms like, “wireframe”, “prototype” and “MVP” which are used to demonstrate the look and structure of an application. But do you really understand what these terms mean? Would you know when to use wireframe or when to go with prototype? These terms are often used interchangeably, possibly due to convenience or misunderstanding, but it’s crucial to distinguish what sets these terms apart and how to benefit from each of them. Let’s discuss wireframes, prototypes and MVP in detail, so you’ll grasp the idea of what to use in specific situations.

Wireframe

Wireframes are the backbone of your design containing a representation of every important piece of the final product. It’s used to brainstorm or figure out what you want to build. They are designed to help you define your expectations. Mostly, we use them to pitch investors, first customers and co-founders.With wireframes, one can’t catch the detailed idea of the product, but on the other hand, he needs to create a solid representation of the final design that won’t miss out any important piece of it.You’re setting a path for the whole project and for the people that are working with you (developers, visual designers, project managers). They all need well-created wireframes. In fact, you’re creating a map of a city. Every street is represented on a map, but it’s vastly simplified.  You can get the visual reflection of city architecture if you look on a map, but you can’t perceive its beauty.

Prototype

A prototype, often confused with a wireframe, is a middle to high fidelity representation of the final product, which simulates user interface interaction. It is a simulation of the final interaction between the user and the interface.  It might not look exactly like the final product, but should be vastly similar.Prototypes usually aren’t the best documentation you can imagine since they force the user to take some efforts to understand the interface. On the other hand, prototypes provide the perfect solution for transferring your ideas and vision into a product that can both be seen, and, more importantly, experienced by those involved.They do provide users with a few interactive elements and early insights into the application as well as its overall aim and vision.Understanding your audience, testing your assumptions, and gathering feedback from your target users are all vital to the success of your project, and even though a lot of this will come from your MVP, your prototype will provide early answers to a number of questions that will allow you to better understand how engaged your users are with your product.

MVP

MVP (Minimum Viable Product) is a development technique in which a new product or website is developed with sufficient features to satisfy early adopters. It is the first version of software fit for release to customers. It should have enough functionality to be considered useful.MVP should be planned out in a week to week schedule with deliverables and goals. It is built with the most basic set of features that allow the product to be functional and deployed into production in order to accelerate time to market for new product introduction.The goal of an MVP is to start raising a substantial seed round for continued development. The purpose is to maximise learning from early customer feedback with the least amount of implementation effort. The design and implementation process requires some high-level long-term product strategy, in order to set out a good foundation for future development.

  • Topics:
  • UX

Top Stories

High Five! You just read 2 awesome articles, in row. You may want to subscribe to our blog newsletter for new blog posts.