In the blog, The Skeptic’s Guide to Low-Fidelity Prototyping, Laura Busche presents the case for building low-fidelity rough drafts of projects from websites to physical consumer goods. The author advocates for low-tech, paper copies for a number of reasons.
First, low-fidelity tends to lower stakes in terms of time and effort to create, which allows for a designer to be less entwined with the product and allows for new iterations without the feeling that the design is wasted, or that the designer’s work had been “for nothing.”
Busche also points to research which has shown that a low-fidelity prototyping can bring a completely different set of feedback regarding a project—the less emphasis there was on the look of the product, the more time stakeholders spent evaluating and critiquing the features and user experience. When a font or color is revealed, the feedback tended to focus on those elements simply because they existed.
Low-fidelity, while not always a low-cost option can also be budget-friendly. Less time is spent on the details and design, and more time is spent conceptualizing the project and understanding the user’s needs. Bushce states, “It opens a conversation in which users’ needs, designers’ intentions and other stakeholders’ goals are discussed and aligned.”
Finally, low-fidelity tends to consider problems and issues much earlier in a project, before heavy resources have been spent on a project that doesn’t meet the user’s needs.
The author advocates a five-step process outlining how the low-fidelity prototyping could be implemented to improve the design process and benefit the end user.