Lo-fi or hi-fi prototype? Choose wisely, because using the right prototype fidelity saves you time, rework and cash in the long run
When it comes to prototyping, efficiency is key. We create mockups, wireframes and prototypes to learn more about our assumptions and how a piece of software might work before development. Prototypes can vary in fidelity from basic lo-fi sketches to high-resolution, interactive prototypes. There’s lots of variety and sometimes this can get a little confusing.
So, let’s see how we can get the most out of prototyping and choose the right fidelity for our project!
“Design methods are not mutually exclusive. Rather, each method exists on a continuum of fidelity.” – Tyler Tate
But wait! What is UI prototyping?
We assume that if you’re surfing the intertubes looking for advice on hi-fi vs lo-fi prototypes then you’re probably pretty UI/UX design savvy already. But just in case you’re a newbie, let’s break down what app and web prototyping is.
A prototype is a preliminary model of your imagined end product. More evolved products will be based on the lessons learned from this first version. So when designing web and mobile apps, a prototype is a first version of that final UI focusing on form, function, or both. Simple, eh!
Simple and yet… not so simple. Making a prototype can be easy (especially with an interactive prototyping tool like Justinmind), but planning what type of prototype you need and how to organize your workflow can be tough. Just remember the following basic principles:
- Prototype to materialize and validate your design assumptions
- Prototype to open up conversations and tackle design challenges
- Prototype to help the client (or end user) understand your product from the get-go
When done right, prototypes can avoid management mistakes early in the development process and decrease the risk of error at later stages. Moreover, efficient wireframing and prototyping allow developers and designers to collaborate more effectively to present and convey their ideas.