Rapid Fidelity: a Product Designer’s secret weapon for enabling alignment.
In the beginning, early storytellers used stones to carve sequences onto cavern walls — seems somewhat natural that designers evolved to sketching user flows on whiteboards.
At one point in time, those dry erase moments of genius would enter the hamster wheel, cycling from hand drawn paper prototypes and Balsamiq wires to low-fidelity B&W mocks that would eventually be painted by the visual designer.
Then Sketch came along *vector angels singing*, suddenly the UI phase started to enter the conversation earlier and earlier — prompting multiple fidelity vs. timeline quadrant charts, ad nauseam.
Prototyping emerged in a new rapid form thanks to forward thinking players like Marvel and InVision. Suddenly Powerpoint wasn’t just for Marketers and BD execs, now PNG’s could be connected with clicks and stock animation flows.
Framer started gaining steam as state-based prototyping became a necessity to create micro-interactions that could respond to real data. Of course the Axure Jedi’s could already do this, but that was just reserved for the Enterprise guys.
Yesterday, the game changed again with Framer’s release of a Sketch-esque GUI for their code-based tool of the future — design freedom has never been so quickly attainable.
Regardless of your design tool of choice, we are now in the age of Rapid Fidelity (please excuse the self-assigned capitalization).
In the same amount of time it takes to craft an ill-formed grey box, a designer can insert a high fidelity profile card and have a stakeholder-friendly page ready for discussion after a few text changes.
Component kits, Framer modules and Sketch symbols have enabled designers to rapidly wireframe using life-like building blocks that make their Balsamiq counterparts feel like cave drawings.
Are these designs ready for development? Of course not. But are they ready for discussion outside of the standard PM-Designer circle? Absolutely.
Realistic prototypes leverage familiarity to bolster access which results in discussion and ultimately promotes efficiency.
Welcome to my favorite benefit of Rapid Fidelity: leveraging relatable visual context to enable early-stage discussion for the purposes of achieving alignment and ultimately expediting the product design cycle.
More simply, good looking stuff gets people excited and makes them talk.
Good design inspires engagement and great designers cherish that opportunity to learn through listening.
It’s a bold new world — cars can drive themselves and visual design can now have a meaningful influence via initial UX conversations that have been previously walled-off by antiquated UX-UI waterfall models.
Everyone can play, from Axure masters and Keynote animators to Sketch ninjas and unicorn Framer.js ‘hackgineers'.
Rapid Fidelity allows designers to jumpstart the conversation by efficiently weaving together a solution built upon familiar interface archetypes.
It empowers product designers to generate client-appropriate concepts at a pace previously reserved for ‘this-square-means-that’ design flows.
If our ultimate goal is to shorten feedback loops by failing fast, then at least we can now fail pretty thanks to the tools that make Rapid Fidelity possible.