While some might consider Goldilocks to have been fussy, finding something that’s “just right” can be important, especially when it comes to some of the programs you use at work. There are different wireframe tools on the market, but how can you know which one is best for you? Fortunately there are some that offer free trials online, which enable you to decide exactly which wireframe tool is best for you. You may want a wireframe tool that’s easy to use, that has collaboration functions or that enables you to simulate your projects. Just as Goldilocks had so much trouble deciding what porridge to eat, many experts equally want to find a wireframe tool which suites their needs and those of their client.
What wireframe tool to choose?
Is the fidelity of a wireframe tool important? The answer is yes. Daniel Engelberg and Ahmed Seffah (2002), in the Human-Centered Software Engineering Group at Concordia University Canada, outline a framework which helps identify the differences among the various fidelity levels and even some advantages and disadvantages for each of them. Using a wireframe tool generally leads to faster projects with better results. However it still requires knowing which tool to use for the task at hand. Just as Goldilocks had three choices, experts can choose between low-, high-, and medium-fidelity wireframe tools.
Low-fidelity wireframe tool
A low-fidelity wireframe tool could be considered the “bare bones” among wireframe tool options. Engelberg and Seffah (2002) describe this lowest-fidelity wireframe tool as “highly schematic and approximate”. A low-fidelity wireframe tool can be used to design the skeleton of the wireframe with placeholders and lines. As these are often the most difficult elements to change once programming has begun, this type of tool can be a cost-effective option for those on a smaller budget.
High-fidelity wireframe tool
Many high-fidelity wireframe tools enable users to add detail, such as images and color. One could create wireframes, with a high-fidelity wireframe tool, that look and feel like a finished website. Engelberg and Seffah (2002) believe this is a good for training, or as a marketing tool, but a downside is that it does take a lot of time to build a wireframe with it and it is the most expensive wireframe tool of the three fidelities. Papa’s porridge then is “too hot” to be fitting for Goldie Locks needs and tastes.
How do you decide which wireframe tool is best for you?
You now know the difference between low- and high-fidelity wireframe tools and what their respective wireframe prototypes may be like, but you have to decide which one fits best with your project. If you are looking to design a website and would like to include some visual features, you could go with a “medium-fidelity” wireframe tool. Like “Goldilocks” found, sometimes the middle of the road gives the best of both worlds and you might find that this wireframe tool is “just right” for you. Remember, you can try out some of these tools to see if they are a good match for you.
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