What Is High Fidelity?

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Learn about the role of high fidelity as a part of the coding and design process in the UX design world.

[Featured image] A UX designer in a red sweater works on wireframes for a high-fidelity prototype on their laptop at a shared desk.

High fidelity refers to a computer-based prototype that closely matches the final design of a website or product. As a user experience (UX) designer, your responsibility is to ensure that the content and style of the high-fidelity prototype matches the final product as closely as possible. The visual details of the high-fidelity design are important to ensure the connection to the final product.

The visual details build on a low-fidelity design and provide potential clients with a more complete picture of what the final product should look like. By using icons, color, and actual content, the high-fidelity design allows the developers to understand what still needs edits or updates before the final product is ready. 

Wireframes, integral tools to UX designers, refer to skeletal designs that allow the developers to test out prototypes and fix any errors before the majority of the coding work begins. As the high-fidelity design fills in the real elements and details from the low-fidelity wireframe’s placeholders, the UX designers are able to test and improve the code’s functionality and gather feedback early on in the design process. 

Using real content in a high-fidelity prototype allows the developers and the client to visualize how the final product will actually appear. It also allows for a click-through of the site or interface that will create a more realistic user experience. 

What are the pros and cons of high-fidelity designs?

While high-fidelity designs can ensure a more well-rounded idea of the final product, they can be time-consuming and require a highly skilled UX designer to complete. The more visual detail, the longer it will take to create a mockup of a high-fidelity design. As a UX designer, you will be working closely with clients to ensure you are executing their vision for various graphic design products. A high-fidelity design will place more responsibility on you to create and may result in less creative input from the client. However, high-fidelity designs create the truest representation of the website or interface while still allowing for feedback and improvements. 

In comparison, a low-fidelity wireframe is more cost-effective and quicker to complete, which is useful if you and your client are on a tight budget or timeframe. The low-fidelity design only conveys an initial idea of what the website may look like, using placeholders instead of real content. 

Learn more about UX design with Coursera

On Coursera, you can continue exploring the world of user experience with the Google UX Design Professional Certificate. This course provides you with the tools needed to understand UX research, apply foundational concepts, and create prototypes to test and improve upon. 

Keep reading

Updated on
Written by:

Editorial Team

Coursera’s editorial team is comprised of highly experienced professional editors, writers, and fact...

This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.