Have you ever spent hours upon hours grinding away on a product design to find that your users just aren’t very keen on one of your most beloved features? Or maybe they don’t care for the product altogether. It’s back to square one, and you’re out hours, weeks or even months.
Here’s the truth: this could all have been avoided.
Prototyping will help you save time and energy by simply displaying your concept and opening up room for feedback early on in the design process. It can efficiently get you to the final stages of an awesome product that your users love, and as a result, make you a better designer.
Through prototyping, you will:
1. Avoid Wasting Time
A prototype doesn’t have to look like a finished product, it just has to clearly express the raw concept. There’s no need to invest time and resources in creating a complex mockup when all you’re really doing is figuring out if you’re headed in the right direction. Throughout the first stages of the design process, prototypes should be quick and low-budget.
In the early stages, it is very important to go from sketch to prototype as quickly as possible. An early prototype, like this one from designer Zach Robinson, will help you gather feedback.
Early Early sketches
2. Find Problems Earlier
Sharing your product with clients or users in its raw stages can help you find and correct any problems early in the game. Having your target user evaluate usability and functionality will help point out discrepancies, or a specific need that you may have overlooked.
3. Easily Make Changes
Simple prototypes make changes an easy and natural part of the design process. It’s a lot less complicated to alter a concept than a full-on design. Plus, if you have your blood, sweat and tears invested, trashing a complex framework might be heartbreaking. Improve your workflow by going for a simple, modifiable prototype.
Mike, from Creative Mints, posted this early sketch of an upcoming set of icons to ask the Dribbble community for feedback. Since they weren’t pixel perfect yet, others’ suggestions were easier to incorporate.
Icon set (sketch)
4. Work More Efficiently
If you’ve got our first three points down, then you’re winning at the efficiency game. When it comes to product design, it’s hard to beat fast, sharp and flexible — and prototyping can get you there!
Ready for some prototyping action? Our friends over at InVision have released a FREE, awesomely versatile to-do app UI kit. Download it today!
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