If there is one thing I learned in my experience as Product Manager, it is that Product Discovery is one of the most important phases in the development of a product. Research needs discovery and data analysis are key to understanding what the market really needs in order to create appropriate solutions. But how can we ensure that the solution we propose solves our users’ problems? A simple answer is through the use of prototypes.

In Product Discovery, prototypes can be a very useful tool to validate hypotheses and better understand user needs. Prototypes allow the creation of a basic version of the product being developed so that its functionality and usability can be evaluated. They can also be used to detect errors and make improvements before launching the final product on the market.


Prototyping is a fundamental process in product and service design, allowing designers to test and refine their ideas prior to production. There are different degrees of prototyping fidelity, from the simplest and most basic to the most advanced and complex. In this article, we will explore the different degrees of fidelity in prototyping, how to choose the right degree, and how each degree of fidelity can affect the design process.

What is a prototype?

Before delving into the different degrees of prototyping fidelity, it is important to understand what a prototype is. A prototype is a preliminary model of a product or service that is created to test and evaluate its functionality and design. Prototypes can range in complexity from simple paper sketches to fully functional models that resemble the final product.

Degrees of fidelity in prototyping

In general, prototypes can be classified into three degrees of fidelity: low, medium and high. Each fidelity grade has its advantages and disadvantages and is used at different points in the design process.

Low fidelity prototypes

Low fidelity prototypes are the simplest and quickest to create. These prototypes are typically created early in the design process to explore different ideas and solutions. Low-fidelity prototypes are created with inexpensive materials such as paper, cardboard and office supplies, and can be built in a matter of minutes.


Low-fidelity prototypes are quick and easy to create, which means designers can test many ideas in a short time. In addition, low-fidelity prototypes are inexpensive and easy to change, allowing designers to experiment without worrying about cost or time.


Low-fidelity prototypes have limitations in terms of accuracy and realism. Because they are made of simple materials, they cannot replicate the features and functionalities of the final product. In addition, low-fidelity prototypes are not suitable for usability testing or for obtaining detailed feedback from users.

Medium fidelity prototypes

Medium-fidelity prototypes are in the middle between low-fidelity and high-fidelity prototypes. These prototypes are used in the middle stages of the design process to refine ideas and test more detailed solutions.


Mid-fidelity prototypes are more accurate and detailed than low-fidelity prototypes, which means they can provide valuable information about product functionality and design. In addition, mid-fidelity prototypes are easier to create than high-fidelity prototypes, which means designers can experiment and make changes more easily. Materials used for mid-fidelity prototypes can range from office materials to more specialized materials such as plastics, foam and metals.


Although medium-fidelity prototypes are more accurate than low-fidelity prototypes, they still have limitations in terms of replicating the final product. In addition, medium fidelity prototypes can be more expensive and require more time and skill to create.

High fidelity prototypes

High fidelity prototypes are the closest to the final product in terms of appearance and functionality. These prototypes are used in the final stages of the design process for final testing and detailed user feedback.


High fidelity prototypes are the most accurate and realistic, which means they provide the best representation of the final product. These prototypes are ideal for usability testing and obtaining detailed user feedback. In addition, high-fidelity prototypes can be used for manufacturing and production testing.


High-fidelity prototypes are the most expensive and require the most time and skill to create. In addition, once a high-fidelity prototype is created, it can be difficult and costly to make significant changes.

Choosing the right degree of fidelity

The choice of the appropriate fidelity level for a prototype depends on the objective and stage of the design process. If the goal is to explore many ideas in a short time, low-fidelity prototypes are an ideal choice. If the goal is to refine and test more detailed solutions, medium-fidelity prototypes are the best choice. Finally, if the goal is to perform final testing and get detailed feedback from users, high-fidelity prototypes are the best choice.

In addition, it is important to consider the availability of resources and time available. If there is a limited budget or a tight deadline, low or medium fidelity prototypes may be the best option.


In closing, I would like to comment that different levels of prototyping fidelity have both benefits and drawbacks, and are used at different stages of the design process. Low-fidelity prototypes are appropriate for exploring multiple ideas in a short amount of time; medium-fidelity prototypes are ideal for refining more detailed solutions; and high-fidelity prototypes are optimal for final testing and detailed user feedback. It is critical to choose the appropriate fidelity level based on the objectives and stage of the design process, taking into account the availability of resources and time available.

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