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Why prototyping beats wireframing.

  • You’re making, not documenting. You can feel the thing you’re making.
  • You’ve got a thing you can start testing, in all kinds of ways, almost immediately. Prototyping is more like experimenting than describing your grand design.
  • It doesn’t have to look good to be effective. It’s easier to keep it rough which helps people give better feedback early on.
  • You start out with the barest structure of an idea and gradually build in the detail as you play with and test out the thing you have made.
  • You’re learning useful things (like how to better translate your ideas into code).
  • Stakeholders and clients get excited about prototypes in a way they never do about wireframes.
  • Prototypes are concrete where wireframes are abstract.
  • Prototypes create the impression of real progress—of something actually happening—in a way that wire framing never does.
  • Prototyping is addictive—you have to pull yourself away from it (rather than forcing yourself to stay in your chair and finish annotating your wireframes).
  • Prototyping encourages cross-disciplinary teams from the earliest stages of design. You get to work with smart people who can make your work better.
  • If you’re on a project where you feel like you have to wireframe extensively, there’s probably a better way to be doing that project.

Less wireframing, more prototyping.