The definition of prototype is, “A simulation or sample version of a final product, which is used for testing before develop.” The goal of a prototype is to test products (and product ideas) before sinking lots of time and money into the final product. Creating a prototype that demonstrates the functionality of an application in development can positively impact final design as well as the overall project. Here are six ways interactive prototypes can help your application initiative.
A prototype allows key stakeholders within the organization an opportunity to see the application design as it was intended to be used, including buttons and interactions working in a manner that is as close to the final product as possible. Most key stakeholders are not designers or developers. They are end users of applications and are used to see an application in its working state. When static, non-interactive prototypes are delivered to these key decision makers, more time is spent discussing and describing how a particular feature is going to work and less time on understanding the overall design. When key stakeholders have the ability to interact with the final application design, the buy-in process and ongoing support are usually stronger.
Prototyping is essential for resolving usability issues before launch. It can also reveal areas that need improvement. Once a draft of your product idea is in the hands of real users, you’ll finally see how they want to use the product. You can then go back and adjust your initial guesswork.
Prototypes can be used to illustrate functionality in a way that screen specifications cannot. For example, if developers need to understand how a specific widget or control is intended to work, they can use the prototype to answer functionality questions.
Prototypes can also be used as a powerful tool to communicate positive progress and reveal the next tangible step towards producing the application, creating excitement within the organization.
A wireframe is the first real process for a project. It turns the abstract ideas into something tangible without distraction. Wireframes enable one party can send its opinions to another party clearly, ensuring all parties are on the same page.
In many instances, clients may not understand jargons like “dynamic slideshow,” “news feeds,” “Google map integration,” “product filtering,” “breadcrumb” and hundreds of other types of features. A wireframe provides a clear communication to a client how these features will function, where they will appear on the specific page and how useful they might actually be.
Our graphic designers start the iterative process of mocking-up visual page designs to finally come up with thoughtfully conceived, beautifully executed user interfaces that truly work.
At this stage, mood boards with examples of color palettes, texture and typography are utilized to define customer’s aesthetics preferences and design directions.
The clickable prototypes delivered by eSparkBiz enable users to quickly test simple elements or complex behaviors, interacting with the prototype as they would with the end product.
Requiring little time and effort, these prototypes allow for identifying opportunities for improvement, driving adoption, productivity, user satisfaction and profitability of the final solution.
A proof-of-concept (POC) touches on all levels of the system implementation, requiring, besides UI prototyping, engagement of software engineers for development of a specific slice of functionality.
Project teams at eSparkBiz produce POCs rapidly and efficiently, providing our customers with alpha products for evaluation and validation with all stakeholders prior to handoff for production development.
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