Wireframes : Low fidelity vs High Fidelity

wireframes types cover image

 

In my previous blog, I started out with explaining the meaning and benefits of wireframes in web design. You might want to check that out in case you are new to wireframing and web design.

 

In this blog, we will delve a little deeper into the world of wireframes.

I will walk you through the types of wireframes. We will analyze the pros and cons of each type. We will also understand how to decide on what type of wireframes to use for our projects.

 

But before we begin with the types of wireframes, let me reiterate the definition of the word.

As I mentioned in my previous article, a wireframe is a visual representation of the structure and functionality of a product, most commonly a website or a mobile app.

These are prepared in the early stages of a website development to create the basic structure of a page, before the actual visual design and content is put forth.

 

Now, at the time of creating or designing wireframes, you have various options.

You can create a basic structure or drawing by means of paper scribbling which just gets the point across. You can also use a whiteboard or a prototyping software like Invision or UXPin to incorporate greater details.

 

Based on the functionality and level of wireframe design, there are two types of wireframing:

 

Low-fidelity wireframes

Low fidelity wireframes

 

These are the most basic wireframe designs.

Also know as low-fidelity renderings, they provide the minimalist start to the website design process.

Low fidelity wireframes are created using simple page schema. This type of wireframes use simple blocks to depict the space allocation for images.

The content, if chosen to be depicted, is generally lorem ipsum. The color palette is mostly black and white to avoid distraction.

The main purpose of a low fidelity wireframe is to provide a basic layout for the designers and content team and establish the high level hierarchy of the website.

Low fidelity wireframes are good conversation starters. These are meant to lay out all the organizational ideas.

Pros

  • Quick and cheap to produceLow fidelity wireframes can be created even on sticky notes. Since these are quick scribbles, these wireframes can be updated and even re-created after client or team feedback.
  • Better feedback : Low fidelity wireframes are less formal. This makes it easier to receive criticism    and feedback on them.
  • Facilitates high level understanding : Low fidelity wireframes are really simple and evident. This ensures that all the teams involved as well as the client is on the same page in terms of the future designs, creatives, copies as well as the user interaction.

Cons

  • Not much to see looks wise.
  • Not useful if you want to depict interactions

High fidelity wireframes

 

High fidelity wireframes

 

As is clear by the name, high fidelity wireframes are a more detailed representation of a website or mobile app structure and interface.

These mockups are a refined version of low fidelity wireframes.

High fidelity wireframes consists of a number of elements like logo, images and can even incorporate a few graphics.

These wireframes may also include some level of information about each particular item on a page. They can have page dimensions, element behavior and actions on an interactive element.

A high-fidelity wireframe has content that is more realistic. You can even specify typeface choices.

Unlike low fidelity wireframes, that uses the black and white color scheme, you can experiment with more gray hues on a high fidelity wireframe.

Overall, the aim of a high fidelity wireframe is to allow the designers to visualize the life of a website before involving color and imagery.

 

Pros

  • Provides a clearer, more detailed and more realistic view of the future live site.
  • The greater amount of details helps to provide a clear idea of the look and feel of the product.
  • A great middle ground between the initial and final design
  • Use of prototyping software for detailing eases out the work

Cons

  • More expensive to create than low fidelity wireframes
  • Owing to the amount of detailing, it is more time taking than its low fidelity counterparts. 
  • It is more complex to understand than low fidelity wireframes. This might sometimes be difficult for a client to understand, especially if the client is not technically inclined.
  • Any feedback changes to be made requires beginning from the very scratch and discarding all the details that you had included earlier. This means a waste of a lot of time, effort and money.

 

 

Now that you know both types of wireframes and the pros and cons of each, which one should you use and when?

 

The answer is it depends on the type of your design project and the kind of your workflow.

 

At Dreamscape, we follow a hybrid approach. We start off with a low fidelity wireframe, make appropriate iterations based on feedback and then move on to a high fidelity wireframe.

 

Conclusion

The key is to use a wireframe design approach that is most efficient for your workflow. While a simple project might not need a high fidelity wireframe at all, for a more complex product design, the best practice is to go for a combination of both low fidelity and high fidelity approach.

 

If you are looking for a website design, we are happy to help! Reach out to us here.

 

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