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29 Oct, 2020

The Fidelity Spectrum – Types of Wireframe Fidelities

The Fidelity Spectrum is an enigma in the world of wireframing. Wireframe Fidelities are typically categorized in a spectrum that is a little vague when it comes to identifying where your wireframe lies or what the major characteristics are when it comes to wireframing.

Deciding to go for wireframes can be a tough decision as it might seem like an additional waste of time and resources. However, don’t forget what the founder of Modern Business theory said:

“Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision.” Peter F. Drucker

If you’re still doubtful whether to go for wireframing then might we point it that you wireframe sometimes on a daily basis? We’re not even lying! Have you ever sketched a house structure or directions to a place? Well, they’re the basic inspiration of wireframing!

The Fidelity Spectrum is divided into three categories. Namely, they are categorized as low, medium & high fidelities. These fidelities constitute the fidelity spectrum for wireframes and each fidelity has its own features, uses, and even advantages. Let’s explore together what are wireframe fidelities and the types that constitute the fidelity spectrum:

Low Fidelity Wireframes:

Low fidelity wireframes can be seen as a stepping stone towards the entire wireframing process. Of course, depending on your requirements there is a difference in this spectrum alone as low fidelity wireframes aren’t limited to a single dimension when it comes to design.

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Normally, the very first step that occurs in low fidelity wireframing is sketching the entire idea on a piece of paper. We’re not even kidding. This step is also known as paper wireframing as it’s a process that’s done with a pencil and a piece of paper. It’s always a good practice to begin wireframing with a piece of paper as it opens up the path for low fidelity wireframing.

So, what exactly is a low fidelity wireframe?

A low fidelity wireframe is a rough sketch so that ideas can become more tangible. Low fidelity wireframes are done through wireframing tools but the essence and details remain clear. They are typically black and white in color but their purpose is to serve as a stepping stone for the entire project. Be it UI elements or features, they are simply shown as boxes without any details.

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Making low fidelity wireframes doesn’t take a lot of time and effort. However, they can pave the way towards higher forms of wireframes. Also, the very nature of low fidelity wireframes is that they are abstract, they’re just supposed to point towards a direction.

Medium Fidelity Wireframes:

Aesthetics & functionalities of a product are just as important as design itself. Medium fidelity wireframes focuses on how aesthetic features of website or a mobile app can work in synchronization with essential functionalities of a wireframe. One distinguishing feature between low and medium wireframe fidelities is the fact that medium ones are created in monochrome color tone. Of course, medium fidelity wireframes are to be created through wireframing tools as the link between websites aesthetics and functionalities is to be drawn. For example, UI component placement and its link with the overall feel of a website can be shown in perfection through a medium fidelity wireframe.

medium fidelity

High Fidelity Wireframes:

High fidelity wireframes are basically the closest thing you’ll get for your mobile app or website. High fidelity wireframes take more effort as compared to low and medium fidelity wireframes, however in order to get a precise form of your mobile application or website, it’s highly recommended that you start from a lower ground and with recommendations and improvements take it to a higher level. The major difference lies in colors and screens that are designed primarily for the final stage of development. You do have the option for designing interactive high fidelity wireframes or non-interactive ones as long as your purpose is served.

high fidelity

Clear navigation panel, colors, and actual text.

In a Nutshell:

Wireframes are usually categorized into three types. Low, Medium & High wireframes fidelities and each type represent a specific purpose for your project. There isn’t a set of rules that define you need to go through all the stages, however, it is recommended by our experts that going through these stages enables a better product purpose and style.

We bet you’re looking for a better purpose and style on your next project. Check out Mockup Machine as they provide a dedicated business analyst that understands your project requirements and can guide you in the right direction!

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