Wireframes, Mockups, Prototypes and MVP what are the differences?

Wireframes, Mockups, Prototypes and MVP what are the differences?


According to [1]“a wireframe is a schematic or other low-fidelity rendering of a computer interface, intended to primarily demonstrate functionality, features, content, and user flow without explicitly specifying the visual design of a product.”

Wireframe must express design ideas and ensure accurate planning for functional specifications for all project team members.


Unlike a wireframe, a mockup represents a graphic representation showing the design choices such as color schemes, layouts, typography and the overall look of the product.

They are used to create user interfaces that show the end user what the software will look like without having to build the software or the underlying functionality. In short, mockups are wireframes with additional surface layer that communicates the visual design (colors, images, typography).


Prototype is a sample of the final product but not all prototypes become final product. The main benefit of prototyping is to explore concepts, usability and improve functionality. Early prototyping can help to reduce development costs and time-to-market. A prototype is an excellent tool to obtain user feedback and to test the product.

MVP (minimum viable product)

Eric Ries initially pointed MVP from Lean Startup. He stated, “MVP is a version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort.[2]” It defines a minimum set of product’s core functionalities necessary to engage early adopters and start the learning-feedback loop.  It also helps entrepreneurs start the process of learning as quickly as possible.

The following diagram shows the overall summary:

Figure 1: Difference between Wireframe, Mockups, Prototypes & MVP

There are various tools available on the market that provide wireframing, mockups and prototyping. Each tool has unique features, pros and cons for specific use cases. Some of the known tools with no particular order includes:

  • Balsamiq
  • Figma
  • Adobe XD
  • Miro
  • Mockplus
  • Lucidchart
  • Wireframe.cc
  • Mockflow
  • Cacoo
  • InVision
  • Moqups
  • Justinmind
  • Sketch

At dConnect, we provide wireframing, prototyping and MVP services for start-ups and early-stage companies. You can reach out to one of our team members to discuss your needs through our contact page.


[1]. https://web.archive.org/web/20180505065903/http://konigi.com/uiref/wireframes/

[2]. http://www.startuplessonslearned.com/2009/08/minimum-viable-product-guide.html

[3]. The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries

Software Engineering Executive

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