What is rapid prototyping?
Rapid prototyping is a process that allows designers and developers of products to create an early version of their idea, to gauge an idea of how it will look, work and feel. Of course, this process started off with physical products, handcrafting with wood or paper before starting mass manufacturing with metal, for example. But like anything these days, physical, tangible things can be taken online and turned digital.
We use UX prototyping to bookend our UX design workshop, the Eden Sprint Week. The UX design sprint is a process that involves ideation, sketching and storyboarding. At the end of the design sprint, our client gets a high-fidelity working prototype of their idea, whether that be for a mobile app or for a website. The prototype is a proof of concept that is used for user testing. The feedback from stakeholders and user testing, along with the prototype itself, can be used to dictate the further development of the digital product.
The benefits of rapid UX prototyping
There are a number of benefits of prototyping a digital product before you begin development. Some people may think that it is just an extra step in the way of getting your idea and product out there to the masses, but don’t think of it like that, it is a necessary process for the success of your product.
- User testing: A prototype can be tested with real users, it’s a tool that can be used to see how intuitively your users interact with the website, web app or mobile app. It will reveal any areas for improvement based on feedback and usability issues. More importantly, you can find out if your users actually want the product, before using up the budget and beginning development.
- Cost-saving: The prototype is a design-build, it's a selection of slides all placed together that represent the real, final solution - your users would think they are interacting with the final piece. This means that it is built without any code having been written, the major cost-saving comes because we will have user feedback to build upon and that’s when development work can begin. Stakeholders will also be able to see the app first-hand and can view a working version before pledging funds to begin the project in full.
- Efficiency: It is one of the final stages of a UX design workshop. You will have a prototype in less than a week, while the fire is still burning. You will have devised the idea for the solution and had a working prototype of the app or web product, all within a week. If an early version of the solution was to be made using code, it could take many weeks!
- Everyone is happy: By building a high-fidelity prototype, we can ensure our design team is on the same page as your project team. Development and the wider project does not begin until both parties are happy with the designs and flow of the digital solution.
If before you start your next digital project, you want a working prototype, get in touch!