Prototyping tends to be disregarded because it is considered a difficult and costly process to do.
It's often associated with Tech Startups or Research & Development (R&D) departments of big companies. As a result, it sounds out of reach for many small businesses or organisations, especially charities and nonprofits.
However, identifying development challenges as a result of validated learning before they turn into problems is crucial in today's digital landscape, and prototyping actually offers a low risk, cost-effective way to examine potential difficulties before they even have a chance to develop. Validated learning relies on the ‘Build-Measure-Learn’ feedback loop which is based on the idea that the focus should be on building a ‘Minimum Viable Product (MVP) / a prototype first, the aim being to rapidly learn and iterate upon the product based on the user’s feedback.
With this in mind, let’s try to demystify some of the barriers to prototyping.
Imagine you are building your dream house. You’ve submitted planning permission and specified to the developers that your house needs four bedrooms, two baths, a kitchen, and a living room. It’s a straightforward request and this company builds houses every day. It shouldn’t be a difficult task at all.
So, the big day arrives and you realise it’s not what you were expecting. Yes, it has four bedrooms, two baths, a kitchen, and a living room, but it is far too small and it’s painted orange. Hold on!... where is the dining room!? Oh wait, you were so busy you forgot to include the dining room in your specifications? Regardless, why couldn't the developers take initiative and just add it in the first place?
Much like building your dream house, although there are many generalities in app development, each individual project is unique. Every app is developed with very specific or subjective features and functionality.
Creating a prototype from a set of UX requirements is not the only key to fleshing out ideas, but it gives you a way to show a development team exactly what it is you want and how you want it.
Just as you would build a house from technical drawings, an app should be developed from a prototype: a visual, clickable, functional representation of how an app will look and function when released.
During a prototype phase, our clients can navigate and interact with a concept before committing to development work. Additionally, our developers will use this functional prototype as a definitive guide through the development process, knowing exactly how each piece of the app should look and function. No assumptions!
We have listed 10 reasons why creating a prototype for apps with Kids Industries will result in better apps or products for your users:
- Get Buy-In: By investing in a proof of concept and presenting your prototype to stakeholders early in the process, you can get them on board and make them feel part of the process so they can be active rather than passive
- We can gather feedback quickly: collate comments from your users, stakeholders and anyone involved in your project
- Everyone has a clear, visual representation to reference without assumptions
- Iterate/ refine the prototype or Minimum Viable Product (MVP) based on feedback and the ability to create several iterations before launching the product
- Prototype revisions are completed in days, compared to weeks in development
- Confirm UX hypothesis — it does (or doesn’t) work as expected with users before committing to any code
- Identify gaps: it is likely that once the prototype has been tested by users, gaps will emerge. It is much better to identify and address these gaps in the ‘prototype’ phase
- Final development estimates are more accurate due to detailed user stories equating to less time spent in development
- Creating a prototype will save you money in the long term. Your company can limit investment to create a lo-fi prototype instead of committing to produce a large scale app…Which may not be as successful as you had envisioned
- Overall, project risk is significantly lowered