Dec 22, 2022

UX Prototypes: Low Fidelity vs. High Fidelity

UX Prototypes: Low Fidelity vs. High Fidelity

A key step to any UX/UI design journey and product design are prototypes.In this article, we will uncover the different aspects of UX design prototyping.

There are two main types of prototyping: low-fidelity(lo-fi) and high-fidelity (hi-fi). When starting a UX design journey choosing between the two is a vital step, and you need to be informed well before making this decision.

Therefore we have dedicated this article to demonstrating all the aspects of these prototypes  and when to use them. So let's dive in into the best prototyping pratices through low and high fidelity design!

What is Prototyping?

Before diving into the difference between low and high fidelity designs, let's discuss what prototyping is.

Prototyping is an essential process in which a design is formed for testing a product by giving it a visual representation of how a product will work. Prototyping is used in various design disciplines, such as architecture, engineering, industrial design, service design, etc.

They all use prototyping to test their product before investing in mass production.
With the help of prototyping, designers can look at the flaws and drawbacks in the design to refine the idea. This helps save companies time, money, and people's resources on a weak solution. Now let's dive into the types of prototyping and how it works.

Low-fidelity prototyping:

Low-fidelity prototyping is the first step in testing UX design ideas and user flows.
Low-fidelity are basic designs, either drawn by hand or wireframes. They don't contain any colors or content. With the help of these designs, the UX team can visualize user layout, user experience flow, and navigation.

Types of Low-fidelity prototyping

Paper prototypes:

The fastest and easiest way to create a user flow is paper prototypes. Paper prototypes are considered highly beneficial when designing sprints, and the team doesn't have time to design iterations.


Clickable wireframes are quite simple and easy to use; in them, you can look at the design with respect to shapes and lines. You can check the flow through the pages and CTA for navigation. Multiple modern UX tools, such as UXPin, help the team collaborate and develop the best possible design with a low-fidelity prototype.

Pros of low-fidelity designs:
  • Can test ideas quicker and come up with the most functional design.
  • It costs less, and designers can test multiple iterations and variations without worrying about the budget.
Cons of low-fidelity designs:
  • Due to the basic layout, the result can be precise during testing.
  • Harder to visualize for stakeholders, which can result in a poor feedback.
  • There is no use of color, interactions, or animation so these designs can seem dull.

High-Fidelity Prototyping

You will use high-fidelity prototyping when you want to see how the final product will look. The designer incorporates colors, interactive functionality, and animation in this prototype.

The aim is to showcase the immersive user experience of the product. High-fidelity prototypes are useful for studies and show stakeholders how the product will look and function.

For example, when a User Designer wants to show a customer's interaction with the cart, they will show the user flow from the start till the end.

Types of High-Fidelity Prototyping


In this prototype, the designer will include the final design, color, and button placements, which will be interactive. It will show how the product UI will work, and all the links and buttons will work as they will in the final product.


Different applications, such as UXMerge, help designers take their high-fidelity prototypes to the next level. With the help of React or components such as Storybook, the designer can make the prototypes come alive.

This also cuts testing time and ensures that the product will run smoothly after launch. It is critical in usability studies and establishes a strong foundation for the product. Then, when you present this prototype to the stakeholders, they will be able to interact with it just as they would with the final product.

Pros of High-fidelity prototypes:
  • Gives meaningful feedback from usability testing to make the design most efficient before launch.
  • UX Designers can test the animation, user flow, interaction, and design.
  • Presenting the prototypes to the stakeholder is a crucial step, and with high-fidelity prototypes, it becomes easier. It helps them visualize clearly how the product will look.
Cons of High-fidelity prototypes:
  • As high-fidelity prototypes are detailed, it takes more time to create them, which costs more and needs more resources.
  • A lot happens in a high-fidelity prototype, with interactions, colors, transitions, and animation. The designers focus on making the prototype look "perfect," which leads to delayed results and takes more time.

Low-fidelity Prototype vs. High-fidelity Prototype:

Now that we have established a foundation of prototype, low and high-fidelity prototypes, we will dive into when to use these prototypes and why.

When to Use Low-fidelity prototypes:

  • You should use LFPs when you are in early stage of design, and want to collaborate with different teams on product sketching and design.
  • With the help of low-fidelity prototypes, Designers can draw information architecture, and user flows. This helps with the next step of creating mockups.
  • If you are short on time, instead of going for high-fidelity prototypes, you should opt for low-fidelity prototypes as it saves a lot of time. You can bounce off ideas quicker and check the design and user flow interaction.

When NOT to use Low-fidelity prototypes:

  • You should avoid LFPs when your primary aim is to get suability feedback from all stakeholders.
  • Don't use a low-fidelity prototype when presenting to stakeholders because they might get confused and underwhelmed.

When to Use High-fidelity prototypes:

  • You should move to high-fidelity prototypes after you have finalized your mockups and completed one user flow test.
  • High-fidelity tests layouts, scrollings, interactions, and elements
  • Use high-fidelity to test animations, user flow, and interaction for the final product.
  • When presenting to the stakeholders, use high-fidelity prototypes to show them the User Interface and Experience. This will help them see how the product will work and give them the complete picture.

When NOT to use High-fidelity prototypes:

  • Do not start your design journey with high-fidelity prototypes without user research and testing.
  • If you are short on time, opt for lo-fi prototypes, as hi-fi prototypes take much longer, and it will hinder your progress.
  • If you have a low budget, don't use a hi-fi prototype, as it requires more resources and time.

At the End:

Hopefully this article will help you choose between low and high fidelity prototypes when working on your product design. Choose your prototype carefully as it will make or break your project.

If you want to look at an example of high fidelity prototype you can look at our Case Study on Applaudience. Schedule a Free Consulation on high and low fidelity prototypes and get expert feedback.

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