low and high fidelity wireframes - cover

Low Fidelity vs. High Fidelity Wireframes: A Head-to-Head Comparison

10 min
Apr 23, 2024

Before building a house comes planning: what items will be there, where they will be located, and in what order. This whole process will only be structured and systematic with a clear blueprint. The same applies to digital product design: wireframing is essential to make it well-planned and easy to use.

The research among companies has shown that those who prioritize working on design solutions surpass their competitors by 219%. And the first step that sets the tone for the whole process is creating wireframes.

So, let’s find out what is inherent in low-fidelity and high-fidelity wireframes and when it is appropriate to incorporate them into the design procedure.

What Is a Wireframe?

A wireframe is a visual representation of the features that will be present in the web or app design. It shows the skeleton of the product by considering user needs and journeys. The purpose of a wireframe is to visualize how the final result will look. This, in turn, simplifies the design development process because it will not be necessary to redo it if it turns out not to be user-friendly. Wireframes are the primary source that allows designers to build a design that is easy for users to navigate and use.

What Are Low-Fidelity Wireframes?

A low-fidelity wireframe is a simple visualization of how the user interface (UI) elements will be placed on a screen of the website or application. It gives a simple understanding of the design idea, which you can share with stakeholders and other team members.

Low-fidelity wireframes usually appear on paper with the help of simple instruments: a pencil and an eraser. Some designers use tools like Figma or Sketch to make the presentation more digital. But in both cases, there is the fact that lo-fi frameworks are flexible and easy to reorganize.

Benefits of Using Low-Fidelity Wireframes

Low-fidelity blueprints are helpful because of the following advantages:

Benefits of Using Lo-Fi Wireframes

  • They are quick and easy to build. Designers can spend several minutes drawing lines on the paper, and they will form a ready-to-use low-fidelity wireframe. Even though those visual presentations will not be detailed, they will give a general idea of the design look.
  • They allow for making changes. One of the primary goals of creating wireframes is to gather feedback. When every team member provides a point of view, the lo-fi wireframe can be easily changed and adjusted.
  • They are budget-friendly. Low-fidelity wireframes don’t require a lot of investment. Even sketches on paper will be useful to determine whether the design idea is user-friendly or needs improvement.

When to Use Low-Fidelity Wireframes

Low-fidelity wireframes are best suited when time is of the essence. They can help demonstrate the idea with the minimum number of tools involved and within a short period. Sketches with a few details are used at the very beginning of the UX design process and are helpful in gathering as much feedback as possible.

Low-Fidelity Wireframes Tools

Designers use the following instruments when wireframing in low-fidelity mode.

Low-Fidelity Wireframes Tools

Paper and pen

Yes, these tools are also considered for drawing sketches. They can help you create buttons, screens, menus, and other UI elements. While paper-and-pen wireframes are great for showing the general vision of the design, they are not very realistic and challenging to share with other team members.


This app is a base every designer knows about. Sketch has an intuitive interface and is simpler than the well-known Adobe XD. You can use its various artboards and vector design shapes for lo-fi wireframes.


Figma has been used by twice as many designers, from 14% to 32% in recent years. Its distinctive feature is that it allows sharing the workspace with many users and working on the project with a team.

What Are High-Fidelity Wireframes?

High-fidelity wireframes are very close to showing the final look of the product. They are created in color, with typography, images, interactive UI/UX elements, and call-to-action (CTA) buttons. Hi-fi sketches are clickable and can perform actions.

A high-fidelity wireframe is appropriate when the stakeholders give the green light to the design idea, and you won’t have to refine it a lot.

Benefits of Using High-Fidelity Wireframes

Hi-fi sketches are beneficial because of these factors:

Benefits of Using Hi-Fi Wireframes

  • They are interactive. They give the ability to test them with users and see their actions. Feedback from users can give hints on what to improve before the product is released.
  • They are realistic. Lo-fi wireframes require imagination to complete the picture. Hi-fi ones already include all the essential design elements and resemble the final vision of the product.
  • They are easy to share. High-fidelity drawings can be easily sent to stakeholders and other team members just via email or by giving access to the service in which the design was created.

When to Use High-Fidelity Wireframes

High-fidelity wireframes are the most suitable at the end of the development process when the team agrees on all the details. A detailed sketch is also appropriate if you need to test user interactions with a platform and have enough time and resources for that.

High-Fidelity Wireframes Tools

For creating a comprehensive design prototype, designers give preference to these tools.


On top of a wide variety of design tools, InVision is excellent for project management. It makes collaboration easy and seamless when working on the project. With InVision, designers can upload files of various types, turn images into animations, and use integration with JIRA, Slack, Dropbox, and other apps.


The Balsamiq tool has a great collection of UI elements (more than five hundred) that you can use in the design. It is a beginner-friendly instrument that makes the wireframing process quick and effective.

Axure RP

The Axure RP tool is the most powerful for creating desktop and web application wireframes. Its rich functionality and simple drag-and-drop design allow designers to build highly detailed sketches with no coding knowledge required.

Difference Between Low-Fidelity and High-Fidelity Wireframes

The difference between a wireframe with only a design skeleton and a highly detailed prototype lies in how they represent the design idea.

Low-fidelity wireframes focus mainly on the overall idea of the product’s functionality. They consist of simple geometric shapes like circles, squares, and boxes. Lo-fi prototypes are usually created in black and white tones. They serve as a demonstration of an early concept of the design.

With high-fidelity wireframes, designers communicate the final result of the design development process. The prototypes of this type are interactive, colorful, and clickable. They are the closest representation of what the product will be like.

Low-Fidelity and High-Fidelity Wireframes: Which One to Choose

The type of wireframe to choose depends on your resources and the stage of development. Lo-fi wireframes are suitable for implementation at the early development stage, even before designers have reached their computers for concept visualization. With these simple mockups, the team can involve team members in brainstorming ideas.

However, low-fidelity prototypes will not fit if you want to gain valuable user feedback, as they contain only the general design demonstration.

As high-fidelity wireframes contain links, images, and animations, they can be a great way to test the interactive part of the design. The use of hi-fi mockups is recommended in the final development stage when all the details have been discussed, and the lo-fi version of the design has been properly tested.

High-Fidelity and Low-Fidelity Wireframes: Best Practices

Here are the practices for achieving the best results in wireframing:

  1. Set the deliverables and communicate them with the team members. Decide what you want to obtain with the wireframes.
  2. Start with the low-fidelity wireframes. They will help you move fast and make adjustments along the way.
  3. Don’t aim for perfection. Wireframing is a step in design creation that aims to give you and your users a demonstration of the final result. However, focusing on every minor detail is not necessary.
  4. Research the navigation pattern. When you place all the features and buttons, think about how the user will interact. It will help to reorganize the user journey most seamlessly.
  5. Always gather feedback. Even a sketch created with a pencil can provide you with meaningful insights.


Wireframing is essential to creating the proper usability of your product. It helps the team to check for possible UI/UX design solutions even in the early development stage. With the help of low and high-fidelity methods, the team can test their progress with the best decisions and minimize the risks of future budget losses and release delays. All this makes wireframing an indispensable tool for any project development.

by Ivan Klyzhenko
UX Startup Advisor, Uitop


Why is wireframing important?

Wireframing is important because it allows the developers to carefully check the project’s structure without starting the actual development.

How do I choose between low and high-fidelity wireframes?

Low-fidelity wireframes do not allow interaction with the structural elements and provide only visual understanding. Meanwhile, the high-fidelity wireframe allows interaction with visual and functional solutions.

What are the benefits of low-fidelity wireframes?

There are several reasons to choose low-fidelity wireframes for your project development. Firstly, it’s their simplicity in implementation; secondly, the flexibility for editing; and the final benefit is the low financial cost.

What are the benefits of high-fidelity wireframes?

High-fidelity wireframes possess a lot of advantages as well. We recommend choosing this wireframe if your team wants an interactive and realistic sample of your future project. In addition, it will help you convey the project’s general vision to the stakeholders.

You may also be interested

wireframing - futured
10 min

Wireframing: The Essential Guide

Wireframing: The Essential Guide The beginning of product development seems challenging: there is so much work to do and no clear vision of what to strive for. The same situation is with design: without having a clear image of the desired results, it is impossible to reach them. For that reason, designers use wireframing techniques […]

ux prototyping - futured
10 min

What Is UX Prototyping and Why Is It Important?

Improving the existing user experience (UX) design or creating a new one from scratch is a long and challenging process. The statistics show that every dollar invested in UX design development has brought in hundred-dollar revenue. However, UX prototyping is essential to build the design procedure seamlessly and save money in the long run. Developing […]

how to redesign an app -futured
Design, Product
12 min

How to Redesign an App: Why You Need It and What Is the Process

The UI/UX design world is as fickle as the winds of fashion, constantly changing and evolving with the passing of time. What was cutting-edge and thrilling a few years ago may now seem excessive and overwhelming. Conversely, the neobrutalist style, which gained popularity in the 1990s, is now experiencing a resurgence with its unfinished aesthetic […]

Let’s discuss your design challenges

Please leave your email so we can contact you


    This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

    Need estimation?

    Tell us a little more about your product so we can estimate it

    Looking for a designer?

    We'll help you make the right choice!