Among the many phases of creative design thinking, prototyping is the fourth and essential phase of producing advanced products and services. It helps designers in various fields like architecture, software, industrial designers, engineers, etc. to try out their products and receive feedback from stakeholders/users before making a public investment. It is a crucial tool and process for service providers especially in the upcoming world of innovation. In this blog, let’s go through the meaning, types, and procedures of prototyping.
The word Prototype comes from the Greek ‘prototypos’ where ‘proto’ means original or primitive and ‘typos’ means impression.
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What is Prototyping?
Prototyping means the sample or model of a product or design. It is the intermediate step between the formation of an idea and releasing it. Prototyping allows a cost-effective model so that designers can get assess the product, analyze errors, and make improvements accordingly. The tangible model can be modified conveniently depending on the feedbacks received or identifying faults instead of breaking down the entire project. Users can also operate the prototype and give opinions regarding the product for further improvement. This step has saved companies and designers a considerable sum which would otherwise have gone in vain.
“If a picture is worth a thousand words, a prototype is worth a thousand meetings”- IDEO.org
Types of Prototyping
Depending on your structure and resources, there are various types of prototyping classified into two broad categories-low fidelity and high-fidelity prototyping.
Also known as the ‘Low-Fi’ type, low-fidelity prototypes are tangible low-cost prototypes made using basic materials. It includes a simple structure or a rough version of the design/model to get instant feedback and make changes.
- Storyboards: The most rudimentary method of low-fidelity are storyboards which include a basic structure by using different scenarios and ways the user responds to your design and further contemplate them. It’s equivalent to “putting yourself in the consumer/user’s shoes”
- Diagrams: This self-explanatory type of low-fidelity prototype helps the designers to visualize their product and also get a pattern or structure for their product or design, diagrams can be drawn by flowchart or maps locating each inclusion and element of your design and its effect.
- Animation: Having a rough sketch of your design is essential. The animation is done using pencil and paper so that stakeholders or investors have an idea about the product and its functions. It also helps you locate the parts of your design.
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This type of prototype requires a slightly bigger budget as compared to Low-fi prototyping. However, they are more functional and a better structure which is closer to the actual/final design. These are made when the design has been through various modifications through the low-fi prototypes.
- Interactive UI Mockups: This includes the visual and colour-coded elements for your ultimate design. For example, a mock structure of your product, a mock website that has the layout completely set.
- Physical Models: Physical models are 3D structures of your product. You can make it using simple materials like cardboard, POP, clay, paper, bands, etc.
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Process of Prototyping
The procedure for prototyping mostly depends on your product, experience, etc. lets look at a few basic steps involved in prototyping.
- While finalsing your idea, list the various features of your design and product. Jot them down and add points that you feel can be used.
- After you’ve made a rough diagram, identify faults or areas that need improvement and take measures accordingly. Also, mark features that can have complications.
- Having a blueprint of your design is essential because it gives you an idea of the end structure.
- Once you have completed the basic design structure and format, share it with experts or stakeholders and ask for second opinions or feedbacks about modifications or details.
- Keep a flexible mond while making your design and keep room for improvement and development of your design.
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Prototyping plays a vital role in companies and industries and also helps young inventors keep exploring newer ideas. There are various options and opportunities available in the creative technology industry for people with innovative ideas and projects. If you need assistance in executing your idea, reach out to our experts at Leverage Edu who will guide you along the way.