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Fidelity of Prototypes

Prototypes serve to test a product or solution in real users and, based on the results, make the necessary improvements to guarantee the success of the development launch cost-effectively. The prototypes can be low or high fidelity. In general terms, the first one can be a hand-drawn drawing that shows the underlying architecture of the interface, while the second one refers to an entirely navigable representation and very similar to the final product regarding interaction, functionality, and design.

We present a visual way to distinguish them:

Low Fideility Prototypes:

Advantage: Low development costs. Very fast creation. Easy to change / edit. Users, being aware of the ease of the changes and the low economic cost, feel comfortable to comment and propose changes. Evaluation of multiple design concepts. Useful for the general design of the interfaces. Useful to identify requirements.

Disadvantages: Limited for error correction. Unspecified specifications. Directed by the evaluator. Its utility decreases when the requirements are well established. Navigation and limited actions flow.

High Fidelity Prototypes:

Advantage: Complete task functionality. Completely interactive. Directed by the user. Navigability. Appearance similar to the final systemIt can serve as a specification. It can serve as a marketing tool and for sales demonstrations.

Disadvantages: High development costs. They take a long time to implement. Greater difficulty changing. Create false expectations. Less effective for collecting requirements.

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