Guide to Fidelity Design

Building great product experiences requires having a great design process. Now, with the variety of UI/UX tools and methods available, designers need to understand what techniques to use at any range of fidelity.

Design fidelity refers to the level of detail and functionality built into a prototype.  

There are three levels of fidelity: low, mid and high.

  • Low-fidelity prototypes consist of sticky notes and sketches, which are excellent for high-level brainstorming and collaboration.
  • Mid-fidelity prototypes are often called wireframes.
  • High-fidelity prototypes almost represent the finished product.
Low Fidelity

It’s good to start at a macro level, get all your high-level ideas on paper, and then collaborate with the project team. This will help you communicate with stakeholders, get initial feedback, and refine your thinking. Start filling in more details, allowing the direction to evolve. The goal is to generate ideas that ultimately set the groundwork for the next phase.

Mid Fidelity

Creating wireframes means implementing your ideas into a clean formatted version of a sketch. Wireframes allow us to develop pixel-based layouts that resemble the product structure but with limited functionality and little to no styling. This lets us determine what elements work within our design and which cause constraints that can impact the user experience. 

High Fidelity

Prototypes should include the details and aesthetics of your visual and UX designs and have been refined and tested many times. The level of fidelity is usually very close to the final product. Collecting as much usability data as possible is critical to evaluating what works and needs more fine-tuning.

Following the fidelity levels through the design process allows for the product to evolve iteratively over time and get input and feedback from user testing. By prioritising fidelity design, you can leave a lasting impression on users about the product’s significance to market needs.