wireframes / low fidelity

  • linda knighton

    Just reading on the adobe website about low and high fidelity and would like clarification.

    It is suggesting that the wireframe is a type of low fidelity prototype whereas the SQA N5 course spec states: describe, exemplify and implement prototyping (low fidelity) from a wireframe design. The BBC bitesize website supports this as well. This infers that a wireframe is different from a low fidelity prototype. Can anyone show me the difference between a wireframe and a low fidelity prototype?

    Iain Purdie

    My understanding:

    Wireframe is part of the design stage and is a graphical layout of the expected final product. Non-interactive and can be drawn by hand or using a drafting package. Placeholders instead of actual content (e.g. boxes with an X in them to indicate images, wiggly lines to indicate text).

    A low fidelity prototype can involve some element of interaction and has more detail. I suppose it would be akin to an “alpha” version. The images are actual images that will be used, text is in place and links “work”. However, it still doesn’t need to be functional software. A paper-based version could be produced, and demonstrated to the end user. Tap on the hand-drawn “link” and the next page is shown – manually interactive, if that makes sense.

    I’ll confirm this, but that’s my Monday morning / not slept enough understanding.


    I would agree with Iain. Wireframe is used by designer to create the UI. A low-fidelity is a step up from that which shows actual content and is used with the client to confirm visual layout and interactivity.

    They are exemplified in the SQA appendices and a good one on the website you linked to earlier.


    There are two videos on YouTube showing low and high fidelity prototyping of the EE App that my classes have found useful.

    Low fidelity prototype – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yafaGNFu8Eg

    High fidelity prototype – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rfjHV0sas50

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