Prototypes are a must have

DonnieProduct Development1 Comment

A major mistake that non-technical founders make is forgetting to prototype their big idea before attempting to find developers to build their product. Prototyping is an extremely important tool, not only for translating a vision into something tangible but it can help with the early stages of idea validation and product development. The old adage of a picture being worth a thousand words is very applicable to product development. Many people believe that a prototype is a fully functional application, however, this is only one type of prototype. Prototypes come in several flavours, from very basic low fidelity prototypes, to sophisticated high fidelity prototypes.

Everyone must have a low fidelity prototype. This type of prototype can be created by using good old pen and paper. If you are building a native mobile application, you would draw the outline of the phone and write in the call to actions, buttons and filler text to illustrate the key parts of the application.

Low fidelity prototype. Image by Fernando Guillen

The above image illustrates a basic low fidelity prototype which outlines the key points of the application. As you can see, this is a very simple diagram but allows anyone to look at it and quickly understand what’s going on. This is obviously not going to be the final product but lets the idea creator and any stakeholders conceptualise and refine quickly and cheaply, allowing them to be better prepared before going off to find ace developers to make it a reality.

I’ve only touched on low fidelity prototypes here, with a little more effort you can create medium fidelity and even basic high fidelity prototypes (see this brilliant article on prototyping for more information). So go forth and sketch!

Resources:

Balsamiq Mockups – A tool for creating low fidelity prototypes. This isn’t free but for $79 it’s more than worth the investment.

Lorem Ipsum – Use this for filler content on your mock up

DummyText.com – An easier way to add dummy text to your prototypes.

 

Here’s an indepth article on wireframing (prototyping) from sixrevisions.com