High-Fidelity Design

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High-Fidelity Design shares a rich visual style of a project that gives the viewer a non-interactive sense of a screen in a given state. They are intended to give a snapshot of how an application will communicate information to the user or a specific scenario.

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Related Mindset:

Experience

Segment:

Team

Inputs:

The inputs for High-Fidelity Design are layouts and information hierarchies coming from Initial or Low-Fidelity Design.

Outputs:

The output for High-Fidelity Design are specific screens or components representing a state of the application as intended

High-Fidelity Design is commonly thought of as the final step before design is brought into development.

While there was a time when this was a prefered method, in an agile workflow there should be many iterations between design, business stakeholder validation, and development. These are living, iterative documents that should be treated as current or historical versions. It is best practice to avoid adding a suffix of ‘final’ to any of these designs.

When creating High-Fidelity Designs, the problem you are trying to solve, and who will be viewing it, will help define how you will create these designs.

  • Components - Depending on the scale of the project, there will be items that make sense to group together in terms of visual style or intended use. These are usually components. They can be global items like navigation, and headers and footers, but can also be forms or input types. They are commonly reusable items that users become accustomed to and developers reuse in code. They can be created as reusable symbols in design creation tools such as Sketch.
  • Single screen - If you need to see how a component fits into a page flow, or show the experience of an entire screen, you can bring together individual components into a larger flow. Depending on what this page is built for, it may be tell a complete story of how a user would use a product, or show how an application could look in a given state.
  • Flow of experience - Depending on the complexity of the feature or problem, you may need many different pages to visually represent the solution to the problem. These pages may be put together in a document for a stakeholder or moved to a clickable prototype to test in context with users

Common Pitfalls

  • Defining too many scenarios - Small changes can quickly become laborious to update, even with the most well crafted Sketch files. It is important to give proper definition in a High-Fidelity screen flow, but make sure you are identifying the correct amount of UI you need to define. If you are finding yourself making full pages for small changes to a section, ask if this would be easier to define in a smaller way, or using reusable components or symbols.
  • Losing track of styles - As visual exploration turns into approved designs, it is important to take time to explicitly define styles in your files. There can be many small changes between the treatment and spacing of certain content and you should be mindful of unintentional changes to prevent the creation of too many one-off styles.
  • Lack of organizational standards - If an organization is looking to present a unified customer experience across platforms, standards should be leveraged heavily. Unfortunately, in many organizations, these standards do not exist or are not leveraged properly. By properly using standards, organizations can both provide consistency and reduce the cost of design for new experiences.

Tools

It is important to utilize the newest tools for work regarding High-Fidelity Designs.

Tooling is updated frequently to support workflow and process improvements. The following tools are popular today in the design community for producing High-Fidelity Designs: