Category:

Design

Project Management

/ 15 December 2021

Digital Prototyping – test your idea with a product prototype

prototype

Prototyping is a great way to test a design concept in no time. With the help of the created product prototype, you can quickly verify your vision with the real needs of users. Find out why it is worth creating a product prototype.

What is product prototyping?

Prototyping is a process during which a basic version of a product is created in a short time, ready to be shown to potential users. You can prototype websites, web applications, and mobile applications, etc. With the help of this interactive product visualization, you can test its basic functionalities, taking into account the target group’s needs, set goals, and customer requirements.

Before you start prototyping your product, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What need is to be met?
  • What is the target audience? Who is to use the product?
  • What goals and functions should the product fulfill?

What does the product prototype look like?

The web or mobile application prototype is the basic and simplified version of the final product. It usually includes elements such as:

  • application/website design,
  • dimensions, spacing, and arrangement of elements,
  • simplified contours of graphic elements,
  • availability of navigation elements,
  • basic clickability.

The prototype allows you to focus on the basic elements of the application, its design, and such functionalities as navigation or clickability. This solution helps to test the established concept and engage users in the first tests.

Depending on the time spent on prototyping, low-fidelity, middle-fidelity, and high-fidelity prototypes can be designed.

Why is it worth creating a product prototype?

The possibility of validating an idea with a prototype brings several benefits:

  • minimal investment of time and resources,
  • visualization of the appearance and basic functionalities of the product,
  • the ability to verify customer requirements,
  • feedback from users,
  • the ability to verify the concept of the project,
  • verification of the strengths and weaknesses of the product,
  • detecting and eliminating potential errors in the user interface at an early stage of the project.

Remember that the created prototype is not binding in any way, and the final version of the product may differ significantly from it. Prototyping means quick testing of the idea and vision of the project, thanks to which we can validate our product concept.

Do you want to learn to solve problems creatively? See how you can implement the Design Thinking method in your team. Read our article on Design Thinking.

How to create a product prototype?

Product prototype creation should be treated as an integral part of the software development process. Skipping this stage has several consequences, e.g., more time is spent on redesigning and correcting errors in further design stages, which directly affects the cost of software development.

Creating a prototype requires an analysis of the market and potential product users. Adapt the product concept to the target group and its real needs. After defining the user, focus on the basic functions to be included in the prototype.

Then decide what type of prototype you need: low-, medium-, or high-fidelity. A low-fidelity prototype is fine in the initial stage, but the closer to the final version, the use of high-fidelity prototypes is recommended.

After creating a prototype, you can go into the testing phase with product users. It is feedback from the target group that is crucial in creating an application. It allows you to make appropriate modifications to the design and eliminate errors in the user interface.

If you are interested in effective work on developing your product, please contact us. Our appjet.io team will help you turn an idea into a prototype and then into a finished product.

Good prototyping practices

  1. Iterative prototyping – rapid prototyping involves testing a product prototype by users. Testing helps to efficiently screen out bad solutions and modify the concept based on user experience.
  2. Acceptance criteria – creating product requirements and selecting the most important functionalities will help in the prototyping process. Precise requirements and goals will be easier to test.
  3. Regular testing – frequent testing of prototypes allows you to quickly validate the strengths and weaknesses and eliminate anything that does not improve the product’s performance.
  4. Real content – already at the stage of testing the prototype, it is worth taking care of the actual content that will be displayed in the application. Filling a prototype with “Lorem ipsum” will not allow the user or the customer to experience the product fully.

The role of prototyping in human-centered design

Prototyping fits perfectly with the idea of human-centered design. The application is created to solve user problems, so focusing on the target group’s needs is very important.

The feedback we receive from users is to be used to verify the concept, test it and draw appropriate conclusions that will affect the next stages of software development.

During the prototype testing phase, you learn the reactions of potential users, and you can adapt the product to their actual needs. You analyze the emotions it evokes among the target group; check whether the prototype meets their expectations and needs; whether it is considered simple and intuitive.

Prototyping is part of the MVP creation process

At the prototyping stage, you can test assumptions and solutions. This allows for a better adjustment of the product to users’ needs. Once validation has been made, and the application development direction has been taken, you can move on to product development.

At appjet.io, we help with designing, constructing, and commissioning a digital product. If you wonder whether your concept will work in practice, we suggest creating a vision of the future application with its basic functionalities, i.e., Minimum Viable Product (MVP).

The process of creating an MVP in appjet.io consists of four steps:

  • Analysis and prototyping
  • Product UX / UI design
  • Development
  • MVP validation

Are you interested in creating a prototype of your product? Are you wondering if your idea is doable? Contact us!

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appjet team

The presented content was written by our experts and is based on our company's experiences.

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