The Differences Between Low Fidelity & High Fidelity Wireframes

Design

Recently I shared information about wireframes, what they were and why I use them as a designer (you can check that article out here), so today I wanted to share the differences between lo fidelity & high fidelity wireframes. Wireframes range widely with their fidelity levels so it’s important to know the differences and have an understanding of what that entails and then be able to gage what’s needed based on projects.

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Low Fideltiy wireframes

One really solid definition of a low fidelity wireframe is by MentorMate & states that ‘A low fidelity wireframe is the first visual representation of a designer’s idea.’ 

Low fidelity wireframes are meant to be very basic designs. Often times they are roughly drawn and just simple sketches of the design & layout. The point of a low fidelity wireframe is to plan out the design and functionality of the project. They aren’t meant to be super detailed, simply get the design out there so people can start to visualize it. Low fidelity wireframes are done at the beginning of projects and allow you to get your ideas out into the world, experiment & finalize ideas without spending a ton of time on it.

Personal thoughts: I don’t do a lot of low fidelity wireframes except for personal use. I really only use them to get out my own ideas when I need to quickly sketch something out. It’s very rare that I show a low-fidelity wireframe to a client. Again, these are my thoughts and it’s my process – other companies have their own!

High Fidelity wireframes

A great definition for high fidelity wireframes by MentorMate states that “High fidelity wireframes take more effort to create, but they are effective in that they reveal how a product will look at project completion.”

High fidelity wireframes are much more detailed & do their best to show the completed, end result of the project. You can see images, colors, fonts, layouts and everything that would end up in the final version. This gives you a chance to get all the design elements finalized before sending it off to development.

Personal thoughts: I absolutely love high fidelity wireframes. They’ve been such a game changer within my business and have allowed me to work a lot more efficiently and also be more creative. The development process has also improved and it’s even more enjoyable than before. Although I don’t have a developer on my team (since I am the developer), I also feel confident that if I ever do bring someone on to the team to fulfill that role that the process will be a lot smoother. 

What programs to use?

For low-fidelity you can use paper and pencils / pens, or anything along those lines or you can create a low fidelity wireframe using programs like Sketch, Figma & Adobe XD.

For high-fidelity wireframes you can use programs such as Sketch, Figma, Adobe XD or even Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator (or InDesign).

Really hope this helps give you some clarification over the differences between low fidelity & high fidelity wireframes. Whether you’re a new or seasoned designer, it’s always great to continue learning and honing your skills – so again, hope this helps!

 

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