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Wireframe vs. mockups

Wireframe vs. mockups

Wireframes vs. mockups: A practical guide for design pros

Understanding the nuts and bolts of the design process is key when it comes to turning great ideas into functional and attractive digital products. Two terms you'll often hear are "wireframes" and "mockups." They're both essential but serve different purposes.

Let's break them down in simple, straightforward terms.

Wireframes: Laying the groundwork

What are wireframes?

Think of wireframes as the blueprint of your design project. They outline where elements go and how users will navigate through your site or app. It's all about structure and function, without the distraction of colors or styles.

Why they matter

Wireframes are the first step in visualizing your ideas. They help make sure everything makes sense from a user's perspective, without getting caught up in the details of how things will look.

Real-world example

Take Airbnb's redesign a few years back. The team used wireframes to reorganize their booking process, making it easier for users to find what they needed and book a stay. This wasn't about making things look pretty (yet); it was about ensuring a smooth, logical user experience.

Mockups: Adding color and texture

What are mockups?

Once you've got the structure down with wireframes, mockups add the visual flair. This is where your design starts to look like the final product, with colors, typography, and images.

Why they matter

Mockups bring your ideas to life. They let you and your stakeholders see what the finished product will look like, making it easier to spot issues and make improvements before any coding begins.

Real-world example

Spotify's introduction of 'dark mode' was guided by mockups. These visual drafts allowed the team to try out different design elements to ensure everything was not only on-brand but also enhanced the user experience in low-light conditions.

Essential tools for designers


Perfect for teamwork, Miro lets you collaborate on wireframes and mockups in real time. It's a game-changer for remote teams and ensures everyone's on the same page, literally and figuratively.


Great for mockups, Sketch offers precision and a vast array of plugins. It's a go-to for refining your visual design and bringing your creative vision closer to reality.


Figma shines with its collaborative, web-based platform that handles both wireframing and mockup stages effortlessly. Its ease of use and flexibility make it a favorite among design professionals.

When to use a wireframe or a mockup

Start with wireframes when you're mapping out the basics of your project. They're your foundation, helping you and your team agree on layout and functionality.

Move on to mockups when you're ready to visualize the look and feel of your project. They're your polish, allowing you to experiment with the visual aspects and finalize the design before development kicks off.

Wireframe vs. Mockups: Key takeaway

Mastering wireframes and mockups is essential for design professionals keen on refining their craft. They're more than steps in the design process; they're your roadmap and your canvas. And with tools like Miro, Sketch, and Figma, you've got everything you need to turn good ideas into great user experiences.

Ready to elevate your design game? Dive into the world of wireframing and mockup creation with Miro, and bring your team together to create something truly special. It's time to bring those ideas to life.

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