Hi-Fi to Lo-Fi with the Flip of a Switch
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Think of the last time you showed someone a prototype. Did you get the type of feedback you were looking for? Or did you get something along the lines of, “I’m not in love with the color of that button…”
High visual fidelity designs certainly have their place in the UX professional’s toolkit, and it’s amazing how real we can make prototypes look these days. But sometimes you need your audience to forget the visuals and just focus on how the thing works.
That’s where Axure RP’s new Low Fidelity mode comes in. Turn this mode on to instantly drop the visual fidelity of any design and facilitate conversation about its functionality rather than its looks. After you collect feedback, turn Low Fidelity mode off again to continue working with your design at its actual level of fidelity.
Toggling Low Fidelity Mode
Open the Style pane and click a blank spot on the canvas to see the page’s style selections.
At the bottom of the pane, click the Low Fidelity button.
While Low Fidelity mode is active, all color on the page is converted to grayscale, and all fonts are replaced with the rough, pencil-like Axure Handwriting font.
Tip: Low fidelity mode is enabled on a page-by-page basis, but you can apply it to all pages at once by enabling it in the Default page style at Project → Page Style Manager.
When to Use It
Just like any tool, Low Fidelity mode has a variety of uses, some obvious and some less so. Below are four of our favorite ways to use Low Fidelity mode.
Wireframe and Prototype with the Same Components
Chances are, you have a handful of component libraries you use for prototyping. And it’s likely that those components were designed at a medium or high level of visual fidelity.
With Low Fidelity mode, you can use those components right from the very beginning of your projects without having to worry about all that visual polish getting in the way of stakeholder feedback. Just drop the fidelity of your designs before presenting.
Multiple Goals, Different Needs, One Prototype
Regardless of which stage of the design process you’re at, some contexts will always benefit from visually impressive designs. Think of when you need to get buy-in from stakeholders like executives, vendors, or clients. They will often want to see something that looks like a real application so they can better envision the final product.
When you’re presenting a prototype with a different goal in mind, though, you may want to work with a lower fidelity version to put the focus on functionality and structure. This might be when you’re discussing user flows with a business analyst or determining technical feasibility with a developer.
Rather than maintaining two versions of a prototype, one for each goal, you can build a single medium or high-fidelity prototype in Axure RP and drop the fidelity on the fly as needed.
User Test at High Fidelity, Evaluate at Low Fidelity
If you want users to interact with a prototype as though it were a real application, it’s helpful to show them something that looks like a real application. But after a user testing session, when you want to evaluate the flow and structure of the prototype in light of the data you collected, you may find it easier to do that work with a low-fidelity version.
With Low Fidelity mode, you can easily toggle between high fidelity for user testing and low fidelity for evaluation. Using the same prototype and visual assets for both activities greatly lowers overhead, and it makes iterative design a snap!
Visually Consistent Wireframes
Even when you’re working at lower levels of visual fidelity, it can be hard not to feel that you need to make your wireframes visually pleasing, either to satisfy your own expectations or others’. Time spent on wireframe visuals, however, is often better spent elsewhere.
Low Fidelity mode handles all of that for you, applying the Axure Handwriting font to any text on the page and converting all colors to grayscale for a standardized look and feel. That way you don’t have to worry about maintaining visual consistency during the low-fi phase of your design process, freeing you up to focus on the UX work and nothing else.
So what do you think? How will you use the new Low Fidelity mode? Let us know at email@example.com.