Every Product has its own Journey from Ideation to Reality. Before the product reaches the production stage, there are many vital steps involved in the process. Every product has their own predefined audience. In order to evaluate the product, we need to determine its’ ability to solve the end user’s problems. A prototype comes in handy for this. In general terms, the Prototype means an almost working model designed or arranged as actual product. A prototype is created and tested with involvement of the target audience and product owners for better outcome. First step is to create a basic Prototype, take approval from product owners/stakeholders and targeted audience. Then we need to collect feedback from them, consult concerned collaborators, and make all required and necessary changes. We should not define process until we don’t have a clear visualization of what we require to build as the final product. At early stages, it is much easier to gather feedback from targeted audience and make changes. This can save a lot of time, efforts and cost to help steer product in proper direction.

What exactly is a prototype?

A prototype is a sample or demo or mock-up of the product we wish to build. A prototype is a quick presentation, and shows the actual plans which are created for the final product. Prototype can be in many forms, like simple hand-drawn sketches, or integrated with software to be presented as an actual working product. This way, the Product Owners and Users can get a clear idea about the final product, how it will look, how it will work, etc… Lastly, Prototype is an integration of the Final Product, which demonstrates its core functionality.

What exactly is a prototype?

Importance of Prototype

From communicating the Look and Feel of the product with the designers and developers, to the many aspects of UI/UX which requires highlighting the required/core functionalities while sharing the prototype to the team can be a struggle. Therefore, it becomes difficult for the product owners to give feedbacks efficiently. All this issues can be combated with the help of a Prototype. Here’s a few benefits of creating a Prototype….

1 .Better understanding for Designer

Creating a Prototype is not only about the visualization of the design and understanding the look and feel of the final product, but it is also helpful for the team members to comprehend ‘why they are creating the design, and for whom they are creating it’. This helps the designers to create personalized design for the Targeted Audience.

2 .Early Feedback

Early Feedback is one of the most important aspect of product building, because it can save us from developing non-useful product. Prototype enables us to collect reviews/feedbacks at any stage of product development. Redesigning parts and adding new features becomes easier with Prototype. As the targeted audience is involved in the testing, we get to know about “What’s Working and what’s not working”. Overall, it helps to define goals with team, Product Owners, Targeted Audience and we can reach to the best collective decision.

3 .Early changes can save cost and time

Changes at the end stages can result in radical restructuring, more complex reworking. It is always advisable to make the required changes at early stages when the Preliminary Model is ready. As the money, resources and time invested is much less in early stages compared to the final stages, by making the changes in early stages we can achieve the goals easier and faster.

Early changes can save cost and time

4 .Validation before actual development

Prototyping has no limits for discussion of Product Defining. This iterative process increases the trust for the product to the owner and audience. Validation makes it easier to have faith in the process, what we are going to build for the end users and product owners.

5 .User Research and User testing

Users are always supreme. So it is vital to identify the prospective user set and collect their ideas to serve them better is very important to develop a good product. Prototyping can help achieve that. The main intent of making a prototype is for user testing and to know what’s in their minds for product. This tells you how usable and valuable the product is to the end user. This way, we can receive inputs and insights about how real user are going to use the product and what we can do to improve their user experience and address their needs and pain points.

6 .Low Fidelity

Lo-fi are mostly referred as paper prototype which are helpful at early stages to define the process thoroughly. We can makes changes quickly and easily. This is for just a basic idea instead of visualization of the entire designs. With the help of Lo-fi prototype, the team and audience will be able to understand the product easily, and enables the designers and developers to make changes based on audiences’ feedback. As complexity increases, the Lo-fi becomes less effective to maintain throughout the development cycle.

Low Fidelity

Low Fidelity

Medium Fidelity

Medium Fidelity

High Fidelity

High Fidelity

7 .Medium Fidelity

Med-fi prototype is the stage when the product is created partially with actual functionalities. The user can test it and finalize the basic prototype. This works best for intermediate stages of the product development while moving from Lo-fi to Hi-fi and Tester, Audience and Product Owners can test and give their valuable feedbacks.

8 .High Fidelity

Hi-fi Prototypes are often mistaken with the actual product as they are the closest to the actual final product. They work best for providing near realistic experience of the product, with all working functionalities, but it can be really costly and time consuming.

Summing up

Prototyping and user testing is the best possible way to reach the final level with minimum rework in a cost effective way. So never skip it, never believe in any guesses or gut feelings. If you have any idea/problem than, simply create possible prototypes for the same and validate with audience and product owners. Let the real users experience what you have in mind rather than just explaining it and leaving it to imagination. Just show them how it works!!