- A prototype is a simulation of the design as a way of understanding how a product might work. In a user centered design process, prototyping is a simplified low cost method of gaining feedback quickly, and iterating on the design. The goal is to design, test, and refine, your concept. The level of fidelity is dependent on where you are in your design process. Interactive prototypes can be created with a series of usability tasks for users to give feedback on the product design and this feedback will be incorporated into the next revision of the design as an improvement.
Testing the prototype with users first gives some assurance that the design approach has been validated and will expose some design issues before spending time and development costs to build a product that users may find un-usable or un-intuitive. Prototypes are also useful for designers to communicate an idea to a project team as a way of describing how something might work. Prototypes are also useful in testing out an idea while still in the design and ideation phase of the design process. And lastly prototypes can be used as a deliverable to an engineering team and if that's the case then the prototype should include any details that you want the engineering team to be aware of like screen flows, animations, conditional states, or transitions.
- Why prototype?
- Comparing low-fidelity and high-fidelity prototyping methods
- Paper prototyping
- Digital prototyping in tools like Keynote, InVision, and Flinto