The initial stages of building a skyscraper are a lot like the beginning stages of building software. In the same way architects create illustrations and draw up blueprints to provide builders and developers with a vision of the end product, designers create sketches, wireframes, and mockups to demonstrate the look and structure of an application.
However, blueprints and wireframes can only take you so far. In order to completely add life to your ideas and communicate your vision clearly, tangible products need to be created. In the skyscraper example, this would be a miniature model; for software development, this would be an interactive prototype.
The opportunities to learn from initial user insights, as well as the reduction in project failure, have seen prototyping in software and application development move away from an if-time-permits activity to a must-do activity, and is providing the perfect stepping stone into the development of minimum viable products (MVPs).
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Despite the many advantages and benefits offered by prototyping, some startups still choose to go straight into MVP development. For those of you who are still unconvinced about the importance of rapid prototyping in MVP development, here are a few points to help sway you over to the right side of the fence:
Prototypes Bring Your Ideas to Life
It can be very hard to organize your application’s ideas and layouts in your head, and paper sketches, wireframes, and mockups provide limited visualization. In order to completely bring your ideas to life, you need a highly visual product that clearly communicates and represents all your ideas and goals, and provides basic interactive functionalities. Prototypes provide the perfect solution for transferring your ideas and vision into a product that can both be seen, and, more importantly, experienced by those involved.
Prototypes Provides Users With an Interactive Model
While rapid prototypes generally don’t include a lot of working features, they do provide users with a few interactive elements and early insights into the application as well as its overall aim and vision. Understanding your audience, testing your assumptions, and gathering feedback from your target users are all vital to the success of your project, and even though a lot of this will come from your MVP, your prototype will provide early answers to a number of questions that will allow you to better understand how engaged your users are with your product.
Prototypes Help Deliver Your Vision to Investors
Just like the point above, prototypes help investors see and understand the vision and goals of your application. Presenting an interactive, high-fidelity prototype to investors not only alleviates the need for mundane project documentation and messy sketches, it also allows investors to get hands-on with the project. Delivering a product that is as close to a working MVP as possible greatly increases your chances of securing that all-important seed investment.
Prototypes Provide the Foundation for Development
Production design aspects are an important element of an interactive prototype. Creating a high-quality prototype that is development-ready will help make the transition from to MVP a lot easier. In addition, an interactive prototype will highlight any usability issues and bugs, allowing the design team to make important changes before it is shipped off to the developers – resulting in a better product.
Here at Clearcode, our team of UX/UI and graphic designers understand the critical role prototypes play in the success of an MVP. From project & strategy evaluation, to creating low- and high-fidelity prototypes, through to production design, our designers can work with you and create an interactive model that excites early users, attracts investors and sets up the transition into MVP development. To get your prototype and MVP project started, contact us.