UX Prototypes — A Guide To Improve Your Design
UX Prototypes are essential implements for successful development.
Many developers and designers use the concept of prototyping to create partial product executions that potential customers can use to provide useful feedback regarding the product before the actual development starts.
In other words, it is the first edition of an item that the development team can iterate upon potentially, until the end of the development process.
You can liken prototypes to drafts which are edited here and there until publication.
It is through this process that real services and also products come to being.
Many things can go through the process of prototyping.
These include websites, mobile applications, oven cookers, and many others.
Many development companies use UX prototypes to save money, test performance and improve both the Ul and UX of their applications.
UX prototypes are commonly used alongside other things such as wireframes, sketches, and mock-ups to make the final product better.
In this guide, we focus on UX prototyping and how it can help you improve your product design.
Benefits of Using UX Prototypes
In product development with just a prototype, we can have great insights into every process involved in a particular product or application.
This is probably because we are visual beings.
Seeing design prototypes can help us understand areas of contention in the making of the products and services.
This is very useful for future testing and warrants the success of every development project.
The Following Are Some Of The Benefits Of Using UX Prototypes In Your Product Development.
• Reality — Your products are entirely conceptual before the prototypes are made. Although this is regarded as okay, users and stakeholders may need something they can see and understand clearly. This is where a prototype comes in. It acts as the necessary step that helps move from conceptual to reality.
• Identifying Unplanned Frameworks — Since representations are visual, we can see what we need to input in a particular product or service. Other things which are not planned are detected and rectified by just studying the requirements of the product or service.
• Solving Problems — Prototyping is considered as one of the best ways to solving design problems. Although it can be a significant challenge to solve complex design issues sometimes, UX prototypes can help us a great deal with the visual presentation of the issues. This allows us to find solutions very quickly. In a situation when this does not work, you may choose to do away with the current prototypes and start all over again
• Spotting Usability Issues — It becomes straightforward to detect and fix usability complications when we use prototyping ideas. This is one of the many characteristics of testers and designers.
• Presentation — At any stage of development, we can use prototypes to show our project ideas to our clients or even test any version of the product during development. Also, there must be a respective prototype for every stage because clients may want to see it for clarification.
• Iteration — Each stage of development demands a separate prototype to advance your current ideas. This is crucial as it gives an overabundance of functions and actions to test. Every step gives us more data which can help us iterate smarter and faster.
We should take time to develop our ideas in the form of prototypes before we think of initiating projects.
This can help us avoid expensive mistakes during development and gives us surety about the success of our operations.
Ways To Improve Your UX Prototype Designs
Beginning the process of UX prototyping can be very daunting, especially when you do not know what to do in the first place.
First, you need to have organised ideas obtained from your client in the form of documents, whiteboard images, napkin sketches, or from meeting gatherings.
All these are supposed to give you an insight on how to build your prototypes.
The following are the things to be considered when building prototypes.
It is also what you should expect from your manager or client.
1 — Project Goals
With your fellow team of developers, you need to note down what you need to accomplish from your project.
Start with a big impression and try to answer questions such as whether your product is going to provide a real solution to your customer needs; and how it is going to solve such a requirement.
See to it that you understand the utility of your product so that you can be able to solve the most complex problems.
2 — Audience
This is another great thing to think about when making effective design prototypes.
You need to understand your target population and whether what you are going to provide is what they need.
3 — Competitive Products
Do your competitors offer the same products or services as you?
If yes, do customers love such products or services?
What are they missing from such products or services?
These are some of the questions you need to ask when reviewing the products people are currently using on the market.
To get the right answers, you need to perform a robust market analysis.
This is what will give you an understanding of the state of the market, the currently used products, and what most users expect of such products.
4 — Product Type
As a UX designer, you need to know from the beginning how users will use the product.
Additionally, you need to see the number of versions that will exist of the product, and the device to be used.
You can use one of the available technologies, including a responsive website, web application, mobile application, and many others.
5 — Product Upgrades
In some circumstances, such as when you are upgrading, redesigning or improving the previous project, you need to follow the existing requirements of the user behaviour towards the product.
You do not need to start afresh because you need to save a good deal of your time.
6 — Deliverables
You need to set a clear expectation of what you are going to provide as deliverables during the development process.
This can help in planning, and if defined well, everything regarding the process of UX design will possibly become smooth and successful.
Various Methods Of UX Prototyping To Perfect Your Design
All the methods used in prototyping are useful in perfecting the UX design.
Some are good than others based on the kind of problems you want to solve.
So before you consider using any of the following prototypes, ensure that you understand clearly about the nature of your problems regarding the design.
These are adaptable and less expensive as compared to other methods.
They are very common to UX designers, and their structures are more defined than various types of stretches such as napkins.
Furthermore, they are easy to make without requiring any specialised knowledge meaning newbie designers can find using them interesting.
However, they lack some fancy colours, and their visual aspects are minimal.
This one is readily comprehensible.
It is where you represent your ideas in the form of sketches with just paper and pencil.
The method is not similar to paper prototyping like most people may think.
Working with sketches can help improve communication in companies, and also lead to the generation of wise ideas.
They are quick, non-committal, and gives a better opportunity to collaborate within an institution.
HTML mark-ups are used, and although they are considered outdated, they are known to serve a unique role in the world of design.
They are suitable for those who are very fluent and confident in programming languages.
Since they are coded partly, writing the rest of the code can be more accessible and a lot faster.
Making them is cheaper and allows you to lay a sound technical foundation for your project.
They, however, lack imagery or fancy topographies.
These demands less time to create as compared to some other prototyping methods.
They are necessary for situations when you want to change the appearance of your Ul constituents on your design with the main idea of what you want them to look like in different locations.
They do not give much concern about colour or other things.
We can refer to these as the mixture of all the above methods.
This makes them robust and more adaptable, meaning that you can find usability, functionality, and realism just in one way.
Stakeholders or clients can see the actual picture of the product before production.
For instance, they can see how the website or mobile app works or looks like.
This is because they can work with the product as see how it responds to different actions, such as when a button is clicked.
The most significant advantages are that they are practical, reduce the time needed for development, and acts as relevant references to designers and developers.
Rendering Your Prototypes
This is where you start representing your ideas in the form of prototypes.
In other words, drawing ideas.
You should ensure that you have the correct instruments.
These include a whiteboard or paper, a pencil, and a marker.
Draw everything that portrays the work you have done beforehand and taking into account the following pieces.
• Users’ direction — Determine and follow the instruction of the users. Try to find out how they satisfy their demands and how they interrelate with the product.
• The organisation of Information — Based on their direction, you can identify the primary inputs of the users, and also the outputs. Understand what you require in this step and how it affects the expectations and behaviour of the users.
• Initial sketches — You need to draw the first sketches after getting an impression of what you need to do, understand the requirement of the users, the inputs and outputs, and etcetera. Sketch the flows of the users and focus more on the functionality rather than the layout.
• Make a rudimentary sketch — After sketching your initials, this is what you need to do next. Here, you will have a good idea of which layout you are going to use. Your content will probably have some text, pictures, videos, and more. These are shown in your design as scribbles or little boxes.
After the rendering has been done successfully, you need to test the sketches and see if there are some errors to clear.
This should be done as early as possible to eliminate the common doubts of the user about the product.
To conclude, the beauty of every design is in the prototypes.
They are made with purpose, but developers should not forget that they are not final.
They are just early samples of design to do experiments easier and faster during or before development.
In other words, that are good for iteration from one version of the project to another. E
Every process of design should include a well-constructed UX prototype to produce favourable results.
If the results are undesired, then it will mark the beginning of prototyping a new version.
We hope this exceptional guide on how to improve your design using a UX prototype will help you make better projects.
Author Bio: Venkatesh C.R, CEO of Dot Com Infoway, handling the entire team of professionals with experience on small as well as the large integrated projects. Dot Com Infoway, 360° App & Web Solutions Company that turns your ideas into world-class products and helps you reach your target customer.
Originally published at https://inkbotdesign.com on July 23, 2019.