What are prototypes and what are the benefits?
Many questions arise when developing an idea. Will potential customers enjoy the product? Does it fill a specific need as we think it would? Is it user-friendly? And so on. In short, many uncertainties that you want answers to and ideas that you want to validate are answered with prototypes.
Prototyping is a process in which development teams come up with ideas, experiment with them, and bring concepts to life. At its core, a prototype is an early example of a product that allows you to test an idea with real users before developing a final product.
An important feature of prototyping is that prototypes are created without applying a single line of code, also known as, “No-code”. It enables developers to link designs together with different transitions, creating an interactive clickable environment without the need for a developer. This helps to save costs by allowing early testing with stakeholders and users to make improvements, without requiring a huge investment in building the product — a key element in cost saving.
Prototypes can be used in different stages of product development. Prototypes are a necessary tool to validate ideas, whether in the early stages of the design or halfway completed the project. By testing prototypes, you can determine the practicality and processes involved before moving on to the development phase.
There are different types of prototypes that you can use:
One of the most essential aspects of prototyping is that, when done right, it creates a lot of empathy for the end user. This enables you to think from the user's point of view and their needs, enabling you to make better choices. In that respect, you could compare it to an architect who has to design a house for the people who would have to eventually live in it.
As an architect, you are required to take into account the needs of your end user. Questions such as:
This process ensures that an architect can look much more objectively at the ultimate goal of the product. This process is very similar to when a developer goes through the prototyping process.
Further, this process ensures the involvement of the entire team working on the product. It gives a clear picture of what the product should ultimately do and what it takes to realize the end product. Empathy plays a key role in ensuring that the end product not only looks exceptional on the outside but also ensures that it is functional on the inside.
Some of the main advantages of prototypes are:
We can safely assume that making a prototype benefits everyone involved as highlighted by the positives in this article. This mainly applies to the development team, as well as to the customer and the end-user. Making a prototype makes the product process understandable, insightful, and engaging.
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