What is Prototyping?
In mobile app development, a prototype is essentially an early simulation of the final app product. Think of it as an enriched mockup without any functionality. A prototype is a collection of UX pieces, animations, interactions and other graphic elements meant to showcase the app’s purpose and functionality.
Although it’s not required, prototyping your app idea before the actual app making process starts is one of the best decisions you could make. Prototypes are invaluable in terms of validating ideas, assessing time, and calculating the funds required to build an app.
A lot of early development problems can be entirely avoided with a prototype. Not to mention it’s an immense help for both developers and investors to get a firmer grasp on the app idea before the actual development starts. In some cases, prototyping an app can help the involved parties explore multiple concepts and make an informed decision on which one to go with. A good prototype will also provide valuable insight into the user interaction at various levels.
If you’re still not convinced, here’s a thorough explanation with the biggest benefits of starting with an app prototype. It might just change your mind.
1. Concept validation
It’s always good to test an idea before investing a lot of money and time in it. Prototyping allows you to experiment with ideas and build upon the ones with a higher rate of success. You can easily add, remove or modify features as the project advances. The earlier you start implementing these new ideas, the better off you’ll be – it’s less resource-demanding (time and money-wise).
Market-testing an app reveals whether there’s a demand for a certain app on the market. Nobody wants to waste a lot of time and money on something that will never catch on.
App testing helps in collecting invaluable feedback from the users. That feedback should be used to learn how you can improve your app’s functionality, features, design, etc. The end game here is to ensure that your app meets not only your company’s or your investors’ needs but more importantly, the end user’s needs.
2. Better stakeholder engagement
Stakeholders involved in this phase of the development usually have a better understanding of what it takes to develop a mobile app. What better way to improve their engagement than with a powerful demonstration of the purpose and functionality of the app?
An early app prototype is also a valuable opportunity for clients, investors, and designers to brainstorm together about possible improvements.
3. Present your design in style
Sometimes even the best ideas do not get a green light because of the bad or unconvincing presentation. Pitching an app idea to the investor can be tricky if the only thing you have is a basic drawing of a future app. What people need is to feel how your app is going to add value to their lives. You can accomplish this effectively with a prototype that demonstrates your design concept. Chances are your idea will be okayed if you provide your clients or investors with something tangible, like a prototype.
Clients and investors aside, it’s much easier to demonstrate your concept to the team of coders if you have a prototype. They can point out potential issues and limitations of your idea early on.
4. Identify potential issues as early as possible
Bugs and glitches discovered in the latest stages of the app development process will require the app makers to operate complex modifications to the app code. This will most likely consume a lot of time, which is guaranteed to be translated into more money.
By designing a prototype, some of these bugs can be identified in the early stages of the development and fixed without adding to the expenses. Also, during the prototyping phase, you can decide if certain steps can be skipped altogether or combined in order to save some precious developing time.
Are you convinced?
A good prototype will bring your design to life and make your presentation much more effective. It also prevents overlooking important issues and leaves nothing to chance.
All in all, investors and stakeholders will surely thank you for it, as they will be able to tell if the idea is worth investing in. If a happy investor isn’t what makes you tick, prototype your app idea first to ensure that the end product is going to add value to the user.
After all, we always try on the shoes before buying them, right?