What if aircraft builders assembled planes without blueprints, architects erected structures by eye, and tailors sewed suits for us without taking measurements? In most cases, nothing good would come of it. Developing an application without preparing a prototype can also lead to completely different results than you expected.
What is a prototype
This is a draft application that displays the main interface pages and navigation. A prototype is needed to understand what the application will look like: assess the quality of user interaction with the interface (the same UX) in time, see the problems that arise during interaction, check if you expected the effect and fix everything without reworking the application from scratch.
How a prototype is created
It is created at one of the stages of mobile application development – the prototyping stage. Many designers and designers first draw it by hand on paper or a whiteboard, and only then start drawing it in graphic editors. Already in these editors a static or interactive prototype is born, very similar to the final version of your product. The first is a set of screens for your future application and shows the location of all interface elements. And the second, clickable, allows you to evaluate its functionality and how convenient it is to use the application.
Why is the prototype useful?
The prototype helps to assess whether all the planned functionality has been taken into account, which will help solve the user’s problem. For example, in an application with a loyalty program, it should be easy to find available points and pay with them, and in an application for ordering a taxi, it is great to provide for a quick connection with the driver.
The prototype allows you to simulate user scenarios, conduct UX testing, and learn about user problems while interacting with the interface. Whether it will be convenient to register in the application, set up filtering, fill in fields or pay for an order – anything that can prevent you from reaching your goal will be easy to fix.
Saves time and money
If you do not use a prototype, then all errors and shortcomings are detected already at the testing stage, or, worse, after the release. At the prototyping stage, you can test the application logic without waiting for development to begin. Those edits that require serious reworking of logic and design are made in a few minutes.
There is a chance that already at the prototyping stage, you will see that the original plan needs to be finalized or changed. Or maybe you will understand that the application will be too expensive, difficult to implement, or not at all cost-effective. Seeing this without even starting development is a huge plus of prototypes.
A prototype is convenient to use when you need to agree on an idea, adjust it painlessly, or demonstrate how good it is. This fact turns out to be very useful when working with investors, managers, customers and performers, because seeing once is much better than hearing and even reading several times.
To summarize, a prototype is not the final version of your product. It cannot replace a full-fledged technical task, which describes in detail the functional part of the application. But it will definitely reduce the amount of work and give a complete picture of how the application will ultimately look and work. It will also save you time and money.
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