Rapid Prototyping Process and Fidelity: A 10-Minute Guide for UI and UX Designers

Prototyping is the penultimate process in the Designing Journey. It helps to arrive at something functional to test that helps to iterate the design process flawlessly. But while prototyping is an important technique, designers can choose from a variety of styles, methods, and processes.

High Fidelity prototypes are refined forms obtained after a series of iterations. Resources, Creativity, Budget and Responsiveness are the major factors that affect the level of fidelity to build into a prototype.

Sketching, Wireframing, Mockups, Prototyping and development are the steps of the traditional linear prototyping process. Sketching, Wireframing and Prototyping constitute the core lean UX process which offers speed, efficiency and experience over the other processes. Mockups and Prototypes are refined form of wireframes. Mockups set stage for a mid to high fidelity prototype.

The High fidelity prototype will usually resemble the end product but it needs to go through the coding process to get transformed into the final end product. Rapid prototyping process involves creation of Information architecture in the form of site map and user flows, Finalising the scope of the prototype followed by iterate, test and repeat process.

By changing the fidelity and functionality in alternate ways the prototypes can be formed in four different combinations.

1. Paper prototypes, Paper sketches, Digital static wireframes are examples of Low Visual Detail + Low Functionality combination.

2. Interactive wireframes and Coded prototypes are of Low Visual Detail + High Functionality

3. Digital prototypes and Coded prototypes with basic interactions are of High Visual Detail + Low Functionality

4. Digital prototypes and Coded prototypes with advanced interactions are usually High visual + high functional prototypes