Why it's important.
This is absolutely one of my favourite parts of software development! It’s where the ideas first start to come to life, and experimentation begins!
It’s where I get to spend time with my team, collaborating, bouncing ideas off of each other, and genuinely having the best time coming up with a prototype that answers the brief, solves the problem, looks fabulous and is easy to use to boot.
But is prototyping just a nice thing to have, or is it genuinely a worth while spend when you are looking at building your next app?
Well first and foremost, there are 2 types of prototyping:
- Online interactive wireframes
- Used an in information-gathering technique
- Useful in seeking user reactions, suggestions, innovations, and revision plans
- May be used in conjunction with or as an alternative to the below
- Rapid Prototyping or Rapid Application Development (RAD):
- An object-oriented approach to development that includes a method of development as well as software tools – so basically, actually building out a piece of software as a limited alpha or beta version
- Often utilises 3 phases:
- Requirements planning
- RAD design workshop
- Useful when wanting to test commercial viability
Depending upon your specific requirements, your chosen software house will be able to provide their recommendation of which one would be the most suitable for your project.
Either way though, I would always recommend one or either prior to cracking on with a full blown development project, and the simple reason is, it will save you time and money.
Yes you are going to spend more money upfront on getting a prototype completed, but in the long run it will actually reduce the amount you will be shelling out, and you will get a better product as a result. Why?
- We come back to the measure twice, cut once analogy – it really does work!
- You get to test out what works and what doesn’t, and can make alterations to the prototype without additional costs (unless you completely change the brief of course!)
- Your software team gets to spend more time working out the best ways and techniques to ensure that your product is the best it can be – from UI/UX, through to what development language would be best suited. Which often means that the ongoing development of the product becomes much easier
- You end up with a thorough development specification (including visuals, interactions, styling, comments etc) that is referred to throughout, making it is less likely for scope creep to occur because everyone is referring to the spec to see and understand what is expected
- Prototypes allow easier development over time, as different teams can refer to it to understand what has been included, what hasn’t, and what can be improved upon (far easier than having to review a piece of software after it has been built and documenting it)
If you would like to talk to us about your next project, and want to understand more about how prototyping works, then please do get in touch with us – we would love to hear from you!