A formulaic assumption made by a whole lot of folks in the web designing arena is that wireframes and prototypes are just about the same things. Apparently, they are not. Some web designers use it in their HTML format and some use it in cumulative process of PSD to HTML conversion.
For what it's worth, getting familiar with the differences between the two set ups is crucial, and so is getting to know about the incentives and benefits they have to offer to web designers. You may not always need both simultaneously, but you do need at least one to lay a roadmap for your designing project.
In their bare bones, they constitute different phases of designing and development, let's take a close look at what each stands for:
A pre-designing visual representation of the web page you are about to design is called a wireframe. It charts out the layout, the content, the body of the page and further helps in building a prototype of the said page. Essentially, it tells you what to place at what spot.
A cheeky name indeed, there is nothing cheeky about its functionality. The low fidelity wireframes are the most basic forms of wireframes that can be created without investing a lot of time. Their ideation however is deep rooted and they use non-fussy images for the prototype to be applied.
As you would imagine, these are the more detailed version of the wireframes, and thus they toss at you information about all elements of a web page. Whether it is the dimensional attributes, or the function of the elements, these forms of wireframes elucidate just about everything.
Why Do You Need Wireframes in the First Place
Because, you need a ground work before you set up any website. You can't have a fully functional website without laying a reliably strong foundation for it. You are able to deliver greater focus on the minutest aspects of your website and improve the user experience. Also, making edits on your website is made easier as you don't have to tweak the codes or take any sort of gamble with the graphics of the site.
The designers are able to prioritize certain parts of the website more than the others and thus create a much better interface for themselves to work upon.
Using wireframes means you are already saving a lot of time, particularly looking from the long term perspective.
You Don't Have to Show the Wireframes to your Clients
Wireframes can get the non-techie people confused. The wireframes are meant for the people involved in the development and designing process, and not for the investors. But if the client insists to have a glance, tell them what a wireframe is supposed to be like and how it can be build upon to create the final project.
Prototypes are usually the 'trial' versions of a product, and it is created to test the working of the new design you have built. Apparently, it exists so as to give you a clear picture of where you may be going wrong and how you can correct your mistakes. Prototypes go a long way in keeping your designs free of errors and enhancing the user experience.
What Makes Prototyping Important
Now that your clients have seen the wireframe, the prototype will help them give a more detailed insight into how the design is supposed to work, based on its specifications and complexity levels.
Prototypes are categorized as:
Again, this is a from created in a more straightforward manner and can also be drawn simply on paper. It is created quickly and easily and gives a good insight into the visuals of the design to be created during the initial stages
Instead of the paper-based low-fidelity prototypes, the high fidelity ones are made on computer devices and create a representation that stays almost true to the user interface. They are highly sought after when the agenda is to collect a lot of useful data and can be used effectively to pitch to the clients.
Now, prototyping doesn't need any sort of coding whatsoever, and this makes them easier to be created. Yes, you have to make sure you include all the relevant colors and not leave the contents under cooked. These are great for testing the designs after they are created and can save you tons of money that may have been otherwise wasted on creating a flawed interface.
The Underlying Difference Between Wireframes and Prototypes
While wireframes help you take initial strides in designing and development, prototypes help a great deal in making sure the final implementation stays flawless.
You obviously have the best interests of the project in your mind, and it is a crucial decision to take whether you should go with wireframes or prototyping or both. The answer lies in the requirements laid down by your client. Hope the above things have been cleared in your mind and while converting psd to html files you need to take of the design which are particularly better in prototypes.