LEARNING BY DOING
The Advantages of Prototyping
In this era of start-ups, digital disruption, and agile, it’s never been more important for companies to be able to increase their speed to market. It’s for this reason that it’s so surprising for us to find companies who still don’t see the value of integrating prototyping into their process. Too often, we hear clients tell us they know exactly what they want, and that there’s no need to validate and test their ideas with real users before jumping into development.
So we wanted to take time to go over the many benefits of prototyping during the design process.
”If a picture is worth 1000 words, a prototype is worth 1000 meetings.Tom & David KelleyIDEO
Creates a Shared Vision
Rather than spend countless meetings going through pages and pages of presentation slides, creating a prototype allows everyone to visualize what the solution they have in mind. Moreover, a prototype can provide clarity to stakeholders and team members alike by showing a North Star vision of what is possible. Where a strategy deck might highlight an opportunity, a prototype shows how to take advantage of that opportunity.
Identifies What Works and What Doesn’t
By making and testing a prototype, you’re able to see what people want and hear their thoughts and feelings towards your product. Seeing a user interact with your app can spark new ideas or highlight potential issues. Because we are not our users, testing helps to uncover blind spots in our vision.
Explore More Ideas
Because prototypes are, by nature, disposable, it allows your team to be able to try out many ideas. You can explore a broader landscape of possible solutions quickly, before honing in on the most promising one.
Prototyping is the conversation you have with your ideas. Tom Wujec, designer, author, and speaker
Allows You to Take Bigger Risks
The cost of building a prototype is vastly cheaper than developing the actual product, and it’s faster to create. Therefore, you can test more ideas, and also riskier and divergent ones that you wouldn’t otherwise pursue if given only one shot. This allows you to take bigger swings at the bat and to test out unconventional thinking in pursuit of a product market fit. Sometimes the right solutions are found in unexpected places.
Derisks a Project
Creating a product can carry a high initial investment, but the cost of bad design is more expensive. Using the feedback gathered from your prototype, you can identify issues sooner, such as poor usability or lack of understandability or learnability in your product. It’s always easier and cheaper to fix a problem during the design phase than when the product has already been coded.
Builds Stakeholder Buy-in
The artifact of prototyping is something tangible that you can show to executives, stakeholders, potential investors, etc. And instead of asking people to imagine how your idea works, you can actually show them and have them engage with it. A prototype provides a tangible representation of your vision that people can touch and feel. And where ideas may be cheap and plentiful. The execution of an idea is everything, and a prototype helps bridge that gap from imagination to vision that is shareable.
Provides Design Documentation
Prototypes can also serve as powerful tool for sharing the vision of the product with developers. A functional prototype can highlight how the design is intended to move, function, and behave. It can illuminate elements such as microinteractions, and provide a common ground to engage in feasibility conversations with engineering.
At WJY Studios, we are firm believers in the power of prototyping. Our team of designers use everything from pen and paper to more sophisticated industry tools to design exceptional high-fidelity prototypes. Through our many years of experience, we’ve seen first-hand the impact that a prototype can have in helping businesses innovate and thrive. If you’d like help in translating your ideas from concepts to prototypes, please reach out.