What we visualize as great designs in our head may turn out to be very different when we put them on paper or a computer screen. That’s why designers, who work with an eye on the end users, usability, functionality and marketability, rely on prototypes. An intelligent design process is one that tests the concept, exposes the flaws, resolves the issues before the design makes it to production stage of designing high-fidelity mockups and developing the code. That’s what Prototyping is all about.
What is a prototype?
It is an initial model or version from which other forms are developed. While wireframe represents the screen blueprint and a mockup delivers the user interface, it’s the prototype that brings life to the user experience.
Why create a prototype?
It’s easy, fast and cost effective
Perhaps the most obvious reason why you should prototype your app is that it’s the most effective way of reducing your development cost from an early stage. Be it a rough sketch, or a wireframe blueprint, or a high-fidelity mockup, engaging any form of the prototype is a crucial factor in determining the desired output. Prototyping saves your extra effort before investing your time and resource into the project. Unnecessary investment of efforts, time and resources. Instead of spending hours in re-defining, re-designing and re-doing, you can start from the beginning with a solid prototype idea which actually works. Just perfect the idea before you produce it!
Development gets easier
Prototyping is the process where your concept meets the reality to stand the ultimate test – the need to be , creative as well as practical. If you find an issue with your concept, you can change it quickly without an impact on the product. In addition, it allows developers to iterate the designs as often as possible, enabling them to craft the designs to perfection.
Easier collaboration and communication
Seeing is believing. Prototypes help all stakeholders to have a clear idea about the end product and stay involved in the development. Their early feedback helps the designers to do better.
Can be used as a presentation tool
App development is a collaborative process. To keep everyone on the same page and take them on the same design and development journey, you should prototype the design.
Gives you a visual guide to the finished product
Finally, your prototype is your guide to the finished product. It gives you a solid idea about how your product is going to look; acts as a visual guide to your product. While you can find different tools that can convert the prototype into HTML/CSS code, this approach is not recommended. Development has to take its due, complete, expert course post prototyping.
Where do I start?
The importance of prototyping cannot become obvious until you’ve used it. If you invest a small but important time in planning your goals, defining the structure and eliminating the design issues, through prototyping, you will save a lot of time in designing as well as developing your project. That’s when as a designer you will show your business acumen too.
When the goals are clearly defined, when everyone works towards an intended result, and when the design has been translated into a perfect product – you’ll know you have the bull’s eye! Go for it!!