Wireframe Fidelity: Levels of Detailing in Wireframes

Ashutosh Chandra | 4th August 2020

Wireframes are a powerful tool in a design’s early stages. But it is important to know how much detailing we need to add to them and UX design studio can assist in this matter. They can serve many purposes. In a nutshell, though, they’re a way of sharing design ideas from the conceptual stage. They assist us to communicate ideas sooner in the design process. They promote a faster cycle of feedback and iteration. This makes them an incredibly powerful deliverable.

In this blog, we will understand what is wireframe fidelity and what are the levels of detailing in wireframes. So let us begin.

 

Understanding wireframe fidelity

Even without the inclusion of polished look-and-feel, there’s still a lot of detail we could add. For instance, we could add real content and images, grid systems, realistic typefaces, sizes, and weights. These choices impact what we call a wireframe’s ‘fidelity’. It is the assessment of how much visual detail we’re adding. The wireframes get closer to the real deal as the fidelity increases.

While choosing the right level of fidelity in your wireframes, there’s no correct option. Similar to everything else in our industry: it depends.

 

Also Read | Significance Of Wireframes And Prototypes In A UX Design Strategy

 

Levels of fidelity to use

The answer depends on the reason for making them in the first place.

Begin with the following questions :

 

  • Who are we sharing these wireframes with?

  • What kind of feedback are we trying to get?

  • What stage of the project are we at?

  • Have any design fundamentals been agreed upon? (For instance, working within an existing corporate style guide).


In this blog, we’ll discuss three main wireframe fidelities: 

 

  • low fidelity

  • medium-fidelity, and

  • High fidelity

 

We’ll discuss their pros and cons of each, and when to use them on a project. So, let’s begin.

 

Low fidelity wireframes

 

They contain the most basic content and visuals and are usually static (not interactive). Designers often use them for mapping out the shell of the interface, its screens, and basic information architecture.

 

Low fidelity wireframes contain these elements:

 

  • Very rough layouts of screens

  • Little to no detail to the specifics of content or layout. We may divide the screen into a series of zones or blocks, rather than going into detail.

  • No sense of scale, grid, or pixel-accuracy.

 

When to use them?

  • Mid-meeting or in a workshop. For quickly showing something together whilst you’ve got people in the room.
  • When we have several potential concepts, and want to quickly share all of them.
  • During the information architecture phase. It is the phase where user flows are more important than the specifics.
  • For honest feedback.

 

Medium fidelity wireframes

 

  • They include more accurate depictions of the layout. Specific components have details that differentiate things like buttons from text-only links.
  • Use of different text weights to separate headings and body content.
  • Even while using black and white, they can use different shades of grey. We can use them to communicate the visual prominence of certain elements.
  • Avoids final images or font styles.

 

When to use them?

  • When the team has already agreed to the purpose of a screen, and we need to discuss specifics like layout and content.
  • For developing and presenting an idea before getting too anxious in the fine details.

 

High fidelity wireframes

 

They contain:

 

  • Pixel-specific layouts and often use a grid system.
  • Real images, typography styles, and color if appropriate.
  • Little or no placeholder text.
  • Responsive behavior and fluid widths, if prototyping.


A high fidelity wireframe is just a step away from a polished visual design. Sometimes we can’t even tell the difference. A set of high fidelity wireframes can take a couple of hours, and sometimes even days to create. This is due to its demand for high-level precision. 

 

Related High-Fidelity Wireframes For Smart UX

 

Conclusion

 

When it comes to the detail in your wireframes, there’s no right option. It’s all about picking the right approach for the scenario. Consider each wireframe fidelity level as a tool in your designer’s utility belt. All of them can be useful at some stage or another.

Contact our wireframe design agency for more information and assistance regarding our services.

About Author

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Ashutosh Chandra

Ashutosh is a blogger and technical writer at Oodles, who covers topics ranging from Branding, UI/UX design, Graphic design to other design and technology-related matters.

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