Definition and Stages of Prototype development
You are at the final stage of project development and the client comes up with a point about a module that it is not supposed to be the way it has been developed. The entire cost, resources, and energy spent on this will be a waste. Hence, Prototyping is a must whatever may be the project size. Many companies prefer prototype development as part of their software development life cycle. The main advantage of a prototype is that it simulates the real product and helps to attract customers since they can look and feel the final product and thereby ensure that they are investing in your project. Design errors can be found out early with prototype development and corrected before they get implemented.
What is Prototype Development
The Definition of Prototype
The prototype is an initial stage of software development wherein product development and fixes can occur before the final release of the project. This also sometimes refers to beta phase or beta testing where a small class of users evaluates the initial project before the final development.
Developing a prototype is a complex process where you need to create an economically viable and profitable product to satisfy customer needs. It is a kind of draft product that makes you capable of exploring and evaluating your ideas and it can be demonstrated before investing in final product development. Depending upon the size and complexity of the project, the prototype can vary from a simple drawing on a paper to a fully functional model.
The prototype design is the first product that gets fabricated according to the original idea. During this process, engineers may use different tools and fixtures to get the product ready. It is a time-consuming process since every stage is like a first-time trial without any pre-determined techniques and process. Along with which engineers have to deal with errors, mistakes, and any enhancements through the production process. There is also a term called rapid prototyping wherein engineers develop the product rapidly before the final release and software is developed in steps so that clients can provide feedback during the process of development itself.
Stages of Prototype development
There are several stages in the process of prototype product development. The main stages are explained below
Step 1: Gathering and Analysis of Requirements
Prototyping software development starts with collecting the requirements for the project. Clients or the users of the product will be asked many questions and their expectations will be noted about how they want the product to look and function. Once these requirements are collected, they will be analyzed by the engineering team to create a roadmap of how to develop the product and how to start the process of prototype development.
Step 2: Quickly Designing the Prototype
In this stage, product design is made a quick and simple design of the entire product is created. However, this design is not the final one it needs modifications and enhancement according to the client's requirements and feedback. It just gives a brief idea about the product which helps in the quick development of the prototype.
Step 3: Creating A Prototype
In this stage a small working model of the product will be created i.e., a prototype is created based on the gathered information and requirements from the clients or the users. The working model will more or less equal to actual or the final product which is meant to be developed.
Step 4: Initial evaluation by the user
The proposed design in the form of a prototype is presented to the client. It helps to figure out any flaws and mistakes in the working model. Feedback from the clients will be collected and given to the prototype developer for improvements and corrections.
Step 5: Prototype refinement
Once presented to the client, if they are not happy with the design, the prototype needs to be refined according to their feedback and suggestions in this stage. This stage will be considered to be complete unless all the suggestions and feedback from them are addressed and met. Once the client is satisfied, the final product will be developed based on the final approved prototype.
Step 6: Implementation of the product
The final product will be developed according to the final prototype model and this will be tested thoroughly and deployed. This product needs to be under maintenance of preventing downtime and large scale failures
Best Prototype Development Tool
There are many prototyping software development tools available over the internet. But the one which suits your product design and the one which is comfortable for you helps in creating quality and reliable prototypes which makes prototype designing easy and convenient. One of the best prototyping tools is Wondershare Mockitt.
It is an American based collaborative prototyping tool for UI designers that offer multi-platform prototyping. Customized designs can be created based on different platforms such as iPhone, Android, Pad, watch, etc. It offers a variety of widgets, texts, templates, and icons. The powerful feature of this tool is the drag and drop feature which makes prototyping faster. Various gestures and animations are available for implementing the designs. This tool also used for creating wireframes and interactive designs for websites mobiles.
Offline files can be exported as HTML, PNG, APK files, and hence presenting the prototype to the client is easy on any platform. A shareable URL or QR code can be provided with an option to preview the design directly from the tool. Widgets can be customized and reused in other projects as well. Though it may be confusing for beginners to use this tool, once you get hands-on, it is very easy to develop the prototypes. The watching tutorial can help beginners to understand thoroughly about the functionality and several features of the tool.
Useful Tips for Prototype Development
While creating a prototype software development model, it is important to note and follow a few key points which make prototyping easier and faster, and hence the clients are happy with your project. First of all, make sure that you have a good designer who has good knowledge of prototyping and its techniques and experienced with a prototyping tool. Keep things simple while creating a prototype. That means the lesser parts who have on the design, the better it looks for presentation.
Make sure you combine similar parts into a module. Reduce the unnecessary connections and look for the enhancements which make your product look simple. This will create a good impression. Once you are done with digitalizing the product, try to create a physical model of it with foam and paper to make sure whether this is the product that you intend to design. Then this physical non-functional model can be taken into consideration for creating a real product. This can be considered as a working prototype.
Make sure you involve the users in the prototyping process, so the work can be reduced later on i.e. after the presentation. Once this prototype is ready, present it before the client and get their feedback. Based on their feedback, some refinements may be necessary for the prototype. Make sure you have detailed instructions on how to use the prototyped model. Another important thing to keep in mind is to keep things simple so that you are not giving them too many things which may hamper your business.