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Prototype Development

Deconstructing fidelity

March 10, 2015

Fidelity is the degree of exactness to which a model reproduces the real thing.

How much fidelity is enough? The greater the fidelity, the more likely it is that someone will understand your design intent. The more real something looks and feels, the more likely it is that you’ll receive actionable feedback to validate your design or inform your next iteration. Theoretically, one could gradually increase the fidelity of a model until it’s indistinguishable from the actual product. However, that’s not a practical approach in most situations.

In the field of UX, the term low fidelity is often applied to site maps, screen flow diagrams, wireframes, and paper prototypes. These models help designers explore and gather feedback about how information within a digital product might be structured and how that product might respond to interactions from users and the system at large. While some aspects of a product’s form may begin to take shape with low-fidelity models, it is not their primary intent.

The greater the fidelity, the more likely it is that someone will understand your design intent.

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