This short insight is from our Methods series: A discussion of useful working practices and ideas for better ideation and execution. We discuss what each method is, why they are useful, and how to utilize them.
A simulation sample of a final product.
Prototypes are made for testing and showcasing purposes. Prior to the launch of a product, a prototype allows the design team to test their work in depth and highlight any remaining issues. By testing prototypes, teams can save valuable time and money pursuing options that wouldn't be desirable for the final market version.
- Start by defining your ideal prototyping method. This can be by paper, or digital. Either way you'll follow the same steps. At Mäd, we've developed our prototyping digitally due to a huge host of advantages—so we'll proceed focusing on this.
- Draft out the screens that a user will encounter.
- Link up actionable components. For example, if the 'buy now' button takes the user to a new screen.
- Internally test your prototype. This should firstly be done as yourself/your design team. As the creator of the prototype, you'll already have a deep understanding of the desired process—So you should know when something is obviously wrong fairly quickly.
- Externally test your prototype. This can be done through the lens of user personas, or with a genuine audience sample. Here, your team should carefully note how people intuitively use your prototype and note any discoveries or issues.
- Analyse all test data. As a team you should be able to deduce some potential adjustments or issues, and create a timeline for the next working prototype or next development stage.
Prototyping is useful internally as well as externally. If you want to present your product to a client, it is always helpful to show a working version of a design—it doesn’t have to be a fully developed product but just a prototype. This can help save you time in the development process as clients will be able to get a better feel of the end product through the tangible prototype experience.
It also helps during any pitching phases because investors can see the product more clearly. While many investors may be happy buying into a vision, it is much easier to share your goal through a prototype—even if it is extremely primitive.
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