Pros & Cons of High-Fidelity Wireframes

Chirag Leuva
by Chirag Leuva 17 Mar, 2016


Wireframes are used to transform an idea into a visual representation of a proposed user interface without dedicating huge amounts of time and effort - allowing stakeholders to understand a concept quickly and easily.


Of the types of wireframes, high-fidelity ones are basically clickable prototypes. They use interactive elements to represent interactions, use-case flows and page behavior. Here are a few things to know about high-fidelity wireframes, how to effectively use them and the benefits and drawbacks they offer:


1) The higher the fidelity, the better the interaction.

Wireframes do not give an actual output - the user will never see them again. In fact, wireframes are those platforms from where visual designers and developers make a real output.


2) Clients get a better overview of the final design, before going through the entire SDLC.

High-fidelity wireframes give a better idea of how the platform will look before going through the final design stage and the entire software development lifecycle (SDLC).


Whereas, it becomes difficult with low-fidelity wireframes for the client to visualise what the end product would look like.


High-fidelity wireframes do not require much imagination or visualization from the client - in order to understand the concept.


3) High-fidelity wireframes are more detailed than low-fidelity wireframes.

High-fidelity wireframes go into more details like the use of programs, colors and logos whereas low-fidelity wireframes use placeholders or, say, real objects such as handmade sketches, which may sometimes look shoddy. The benefits of high-fidelity wireframes include:


1. They show a lot more specifics


2. They provide a better sense of what real UI elements might look like


3. They provide easier client-developer interactions


4) The industry will never fully be on board with high-fidelity wireframes only.

While high-fidelity wireframes have many benefits, they will never fully oust their low-fidelity counterparts as each has their place.


Cons of high-fidelity wireframes :

1. They can create client confusion


2. They can curb a client's creativity


3. They can cause clients to think they are a perfect prototype when they are still very much a work in progress.


4. They cost more time and money from a developer and the client may not be satisfied until the wireframe is exactly how they want the actual site to look and function.


It's Still the Client's Call

High-fidelity wireframes should only be an option if your enterprise and its clients have the time and budget. Those with less resources should opt for a low-fidelity option.


Author Bio: Chirag Leuva has more than six years of experience in mobile app development, with a focus on iPhone and Android app development. He currently holds the position of CEO at Yudiz Solutions, a mobile app development company.