The importance of prototyping should be obvious to anyone involved in designing website or mobile apps.
A prototype allows a designer or developer to create a form out of a concept, so that everyone who is involved in the process can give their feedback and make necessary adjustments before a final version is produced.
From the very beginning of a project it is important to test each element and to ensure that it all works as intended. Navigating around a working prototype and trying out different actions allows you to experience what it would be like to use the interface.
You can explore all the functions and solve any problems during the planning stage, rather than discovering them through testing at a later stage when it might not be so easy to get them fixed.
Another reason why a working prototype is so helpful is because it gives you a master plan in more than one dimension. Prototyping is the best way to determine the final specifications for a working website or a mobile app.
The biggest benefit of prototyping is that it prevents important factors from being overlooked and it stops you making any assumptions that could be revealed as inaccurate later on in the process.
You might think that you could just as easily work with static wireframes to explain how a function is supposed to work, but that is never going to be as effective as having a working prototype.
Why create prototypes?
Business owners do not necessarily have a lot of design knowledge or understand coding. Prototyping provides them with a model of how the finished website will look or exactly how an app will work when it goes live.
A working prototype can be used in the same way as if it were the finished product. You can click around and get a much better idea of what is working and where you need to find a solution. Usability testing of the prototype will produce a better user experience and all the troubleshooting will have been done by the time the website or mobile app is launched.
The development part gets easier
Prototyping actually makes coding much less difficult. An app designer has a better chance of getting the coding right when there is a prototype to work from. It allows the designer to see how the website is intended to work and how it should look once it’s launched.
You will save time and money
Using a prototyping application will cut down the amount of time and keep costs down. Saving money and cutting down on the amount of development time are very important matters to any business owner.
When a company wants to roll out a new mobile app or set up a new website, it is inevitable that there will be a number of experts working on the project. Costs will continue to rise as long as those people are being paid for their time. Team members using a prototype application can all communicate quickly with each other about what needs to be added, altered or removed.
Easier collaboration means easier feedback
Collaboration is easier with a prototyping application because individuals do not need to keep exchanging JPGs or PDFs with each other. Instead they can all add their own comments and links, using feedback tools within the prototype application, making it easier and faster to facilitate necessary revisions.
Revisions are an essential part of the design process if the finished product is to perform at its very best. This is why prototyping is such a valuable part of the design process. A prototyping app makes multiple adjustments possible and the uploading of each revision becomes a much speedier and simpler process.
It’s a win-win scenario
Why use prototypes? Development teams like being able to using them. Clients like to see them. Everyone involved in the project can make decisions based on what they can see, explore and resolve. A working prototype becomes the focus for discussion and is a platform for problem solving.
You should be able to understand the importance of prototyping when you consider just how effective it is for showing everyone involved in the project how much progress is being made towards the intended solution. Specifications set out in a document are much harder to interpret, visualize and digest.
Testing your website or app and improving its experience before actually designing it
Prototyping is really useful for demonstrating how a user interface works and determining how well it flows, whether it’s intuitive enough and if it is logical. Testing a prototype of your website design or your app means that you can continue to make improvements to the user experience before you complete the final design.
Prototyping means that you can test a working prototype with real users who will reveal any shortcomings in user interaction, navigation or information architecture as it stands. More importantly, they can tell you if the calls to action are adequate and if they take the user to where you want them to go.
At this stage of website development it is easier to work on a prototype to get things rights, rather than waiting until it’s almost time for releasing or launching the finished product.
A good working prototype can be built from a set of wireframes, and this will help any web project off to the best possible start.
The importance of prototyping becomes even more obvious once you are involved in a project where the entire team is able to see a prototype version that shows an approximation of how the finished product is going to look and what sort of user experience it will provide.
The importance of prototyping should not be overlooked. It means that coding and design can be done at the same time, and the completed project will provide exactly the right sort of user experience, without the need for any further troubleshooting. As a further read about this subject, I recommend a book or two about prototyping to give you more in depth information.