BusinessPrototyping

What Is Prototyping? The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Prototyping

By Gowtham Raj on February 18th, 2021

Do you need a way to check if your business ideas will work when applied on a large scale? Do you want to build a successful business based on actual tests and not only on estimates or guesses? Prototyping is a great way to bring an idea from paper to life.

In our guide on prototyping for beginners, we’ll answer the question of what is prototyping. We’ll also discuss how you can use prototyping for your business. Keep reading for more on prototyping. 

What Is Prototyping?

This year, there’s a 27% increase in small business owners who wanted to start a business. Their main motivation was their dissatisfaction with corporate America. Yet, it isn’t easy to start a business and to build it into a successful, long-lived venture.

To start and build a business, one needs to be smart and practical. Prototyping is one process in keeping a business that presents practicality and aptitude. Prototyping is the process that you use to apply ideas into tangible forms.

It’s also a part of design thinking and UX design. In prototyping, you get to test an idea on samples and improve on it. Instead of focusing on ideas, you provide approaches for testing and exploring them.

Look back to your childhood playtime, where you create mock-ups of real-world objects. Be it a toy train, doll, paper airplane, or other objects, you used simple materials. In prototyping, you do the same thing with more sophisticated materials and more developed ideas.

Prototyping Leads You to Finished Products

Often, you don’t create a perfect product from scratch. You start with trial products or prototypes first. Then, you develop these prototypes step by step until you make a ready-to-market item.

Prototyping doesn’t only depend on crafting a product from scratch. There are many steps before you can get right to the action of creating a prototype. Below, we’ll talk about these steps further.

What Is a Prototype?

As you can tell from our definition of prototyping, a prototype is the sample version of a final product. You create a prototype and test it before you launch it as a marketable item. This simulation of the actual product needs to be as close as possible to the real one.

Types of Prototypes

There are four types of product prototypes. These types are the feasibility, low-fidelity user, high-fidelity user, and live-data prototypes. As you develop your prototype, the type of prototype also changes.

The feasibility prototype is the simulation of a concept. It helps you see if it’s feasible and understand the technical risks that come with it. It’s great for prototyping new technology or products.

Once you know that the product is feasible, you move to create a low-fidelity user prototype. In this step, your designs will still vary and won’t look real. Here, your goal is to identify usability issues and to test the workflow.

A high-fidelity user prototype is a working simulation prototype and realistic-looking. You move to this stage once you’ve decided on a design and workflow. Here, you’ll do defensive user testing, in which you’ll see if the users won’t like it, not if they will. This is also the step in which you propose the product to stakeholders.

The last type of prototype is the live-data prototype, which has access to real data and sends real live traffic. This final stage is where you try to prove that it works. This step sits before the stage of marketing the prototype as a product for your target market.

Use these steps as your guide to creating the ultimate brand design. Don’t forget practicality and usability. Good function, design, and usability are key features to focus on if you want to make a successful product.

Creating a Prototype

Let’s say you already have an idea for a product. This can be an app, service, household tool, food, or other items. Your next step is to develop that idea through research.

You start prototyping by brainstorming. Call your business partner, partner, or friend, and pitch the one-line concept to them. Ask for help in brainstorming the product. Look for possible flaws and features.

Next, get right to the action of conceptualizing.

Instead of writing the ideas down, draw or illustrate them on paper. Use digital means if you must, like creating 3D modeling services, which received a boost during the pandemic. If the prototype involves a process of steps (like service), create a storyboard.

Rapid Prototyping

Another way of making prototypes is through rapid prototyping. As you can tell from its name, it is “prototyping done fast”. However, this is a misconception.

In rapid prototyping, you’re not trying to churn out as many varied prototypes as fast as possible. Instead, you’re trying to develop ideas by exploring different components. Often, that includes the different components of concepts, ideas, and assumptions.

You test these ideas and create new prototypes from the data you gathered through those tests. Don’t stop at making one or two prototypes of a product. Test early and often instead, and develop your product in the same way.

Different Prototyping Tools

There are a lot of tools available online for you to use. However, you’ll want the best to ensure smooth and efficient prototyping. Here are some of the ones you’ll want to use.

Adobe Experience Design

This is a great option to go for if you want a good tool with collaborative efforts in mind. This is because you can add a lot of interactions and transitions for your team. This allows them to test and see how the prototype is faring.

You can also do this for the stakeholders. This allows you to show them your progress even while the project is under development. 

It also allows you to switch seamlessly from design to testing within the app. You can even use all the tools you have within Adobe to help you through prototyping. It’s a great and efficient tool for you if you’ve already invested in a lot of Adobe programs.

InVision

If you want a more streamlined and organized prototyping phase, then best get InVision for your team. It offers features that can help you keep track of the status of any project your team is working on. You can even integrate apps such as Dropbox, Slack, and Trello to ensure maximum real-time coordination.

It even has an in-browser presentation option for you to use. This allows your brand to showcase your progress to investors with ease in the browser.

Benefits of Prototyping

Developing your ideas takes time. With prototyping, you can shorten that development time. You see issues early, as well as the flaws that you won’t otherwise realize.

If you plan to sell the final product, it will help keep your customer safe from harm and keep you from lawsuits. As we mentioned, prototyping helps you point out all the kinks in the product. If you see a safety hazard, you can get right to fixing it without risking your customers.

Prototyping helps the creator avoid committing to a single ideal version of a product. Being single-minded about what you want isn’t always a good thing. If you try to force your idea into the market without prototyping, you face a lot of risks.

Finally, the prototypes you create help you make a solid foundation from which you form ideas for improvement.

Start Prototyping Today

Now, you know the answer to the question of what is prototyping and how does it help us. We hope you enjoyed reading out this prototyping for dummies guide. Let your product become a reality when you start prototyping today!

If you’re considering prototyping today, visit our contact page. We can help you realize your dreams and shape them into reality!

By Gowtham Raj

February 18th, 2021

SHARE: