Launching a product is a complicated task and, above all, quite expensive. Developing a prototype helps us gain a competitive advantage by focusing on the aspects that the consumer perceives as relevant. I still do not know what is prototyping and how to prototype a product? Read on and don’t miss it!
You may be interested in: Graduated in UX Product Design
What is prototyping?
Let’s see what prototyping is. Prototyping is a first version of the idea of a product or a service. Prototyping allows us to test, evaluate, and validate whether the idea we have in mind actually meets business and user goals. Thanks to this prototype, we will be able to validate those ideas that we have of products or services but that we do not know how to reflect them or how to bring them to tangible ground.
The prototype helps us have a physical tool to validate that this idea makes sense, if there is a market and if it is demanded by users.
On the other hand, it also helps us estimate costs and hours. In other words, you have a prototype and you will go with a development team. The development team will tell you what the scope of the product will be, as they see it in a more realistic way.
In fact, another of the key points is be able to test with users. That is, many times, before passing the project to the development team to insert code (which is one of the most expensive parts of producing a digital product), it is better to do a test with users. For example, in a discussion group, where we can give you a try on this prototype and see what users think about it. See where they get stuck, the emotions at the push of a button or another, etc.
Testing is essential in order to be able to improve a product as much as possible before its release. Once the product is on the market, it is difficult to rectify it without spending a lot of money. In this sense, testing gives us very valuable information on how to improve the design, usability or user experience to deliver a product that meets consumer expectations.
In short, a prototype will help us to know how a user relates to the product and how the user-interface relationship works.
Although it is likely that when you are already in a professional environment, it is not necessary to carry out all phases of prototyping, since you will be working on concepts that you have already made, it is true that there are certain phases that we cannot skip. These are the following:
Phase 1: Sketch the bit
The first phase of prototyping is the sketch pussy. These are the first ideas that we put on paper. It is very useful in the ideation and research phase, such as note taking, idea taking, etc. This gives us an agile first impression of the arrangement of the elements. These ideas which are given, for example, during the meeting, and which must somehow be materialized. We are talking about using the sketch to our advantage.
Step 2: Wireframe
The second phase concerns polish the design a little. It is essential to know the logic of use of the screens and facilitate the creation of the prototyping. The purpose of the wireframe is to connect with each other, see what happens when a button is pressed, etc. We can be guided by a design map of UX
With a Wireframe what we try is to have it explained as best as possible, that anyone who receives it without an explanation can read it perfectly. This is very important because it is the definitive guide to be able to create interactive prototypes in an agile way. You have to be very clear about the interactions between screens, the logics of use, the stories and the user cases before adding the interactivity.
Phase 3: non-functional prototype
The non-functional prototype is the third and final phase. This is the phase in which we add interactions and get a product that has not yet been developed, but will show you a very similar look to what the final product might be. It can be a website, app, etc. In short, we add interactions and this can be “ displayed ” as app or the real web.
Benefits of prototyping
One of the biggest advantages of prototypes is undoubtedly the possibility of quickly detecting possible problems of design and manufacturing. In addition, prototyping can also help us estimate the needs and materials that we will need in the future, as well as manufacturing time and personnel. Prototyping is perfect if you want:
- Present your idea
- Design the best version for users
- Know the scope of the project
Through the tests you can solve many questions, for example whether the product can be manufactured with current machines, what adaptations will have to be made for its adaptation, whether new machines are needed, etc. These cases refer to prototypes of non-digital products. We could highlight these great advantages of prototyping:
- You minimize the risks, since thanks to tests and prototyping you ensure the success of the product, since you have already carried out several tests and have been able to verify that it works and that the functionalities meet the user’s expectations.
- Possibility to test, since we validate essential concepts during development.
- Improves user experience, preventing design failures, mainly usability.
- Receive feedback customers and end users.
- Helps to gain competitive advantage, since we can influence and work on the aspects that the consumer perceives as important in relation to his needs. In other words, we are developing a better suited product with more value than that of the competition.
- The vision he gives us of the product helps us to get an idea of the attributes that the product will have. This will help us create differentiation strategies for its commercialization.
- The first discovery of design issues.
What do you think of this article what is prototyping? Leave your comments and share!
Finally, if you want to become an expert in UX and prototyping, train yourself with the Graduated in UX Product Design. You will learn, among other things, which technique to implement to meet business and user objectives in the conceptualization of a digital product and the support of interface design and prototyping tools. We are waiting for you!