When working on a particular project, it is better to test ideas and to see the outcome in advance, rather than completing the whole project and not liking the result. Prototyping helps designers test their work process and ideas to see if the outcome is the one the client desired. Many ideas for prototyping are available online, we’ve selected some of the best techniques for prototyping designs.
1. Prepping The Audience
Before subjecting a prototype to evaluation by a particular audience, designers should prep the audience about the project. The developer is accustomed to every aspect, but the audience is viewing it for the first time. They need to know exactly which features to evaluate to provide feedback. As the developer or designer, make sure the audience knows what they are being asked to evaluate.
2. Choosing the Audience
Before a designer showcases a prototype they need to carefully choose an audience. A low precision prototype during the start of the project will not make any sense to non-technical staff and they will not be able to evaluate it well. A low accuracy prototype should only be shown to the team members and developers who have an idea of the outcome. A rough paper sketch of the project may be enough to satisfy the higher engineers who just wants to see what a designer is trying to achieve. On the contrary, a mid precision prototype may be required when a designer is trying to collaborate with a team.
3. Participatory Design
It is often a good idea to involve the users of a particular project in the evaluation procedure. The feedback provided by users will help to enhance the usability of the project ultimately making it a successful one. A designer doesn’t have to abide by every insight they provide, but considering their reviews will help in the designing process.
4. Keeping a Clear Outlook
The primary job of a prototype is to provide designer with a clear idea of what they need to achieve. Draw a rough sketch of the prototype. It doesn’t need to be very detailed or pretty. Create a loosely detailed prototype first and test it to check out the workability. Then insert the detailing while as the prototype is about to be finished. Take into consideration all the feedback available and detail the project accordingly.
5. User Friendly
Make the prototype as user friendly as possible. Uncomplicate the design so that the users are at ease while handling it. But in the process, don’t strip the design of the essential features. Keep it simple but make sure all the necessary elements are available.
6. Animate it
In the process of simplifying the prototype, don’t be afraid to add animations. Animations make a design attractive to the end users. But make sure it is not overloaded with them. Strike a balance between the optimum amount of animations to keep the design interesting but not clumsy.
Designers should sketch out an idea first before they start to work on the prototype. A sketch of what is needed and how the work is going to flow will help in designing the prototype with ease.
Designers are sometimes weak when it comes to coding skills. However, multiple tools are available which will allow designers to produce a prototype without having to code. A designer shouldn’t compromise a prototype just because they are unable to code it.
9. Real-time Users
Testing out the prototype on real users who will actually use the finished product will help to develop the project better. Allow them to review the work and feedback on the pros and cons faced by them.
10. Keep it Simple
In the attempt to create a perfect prototype, don’t lose time and energy meant for the development of the final project. Design the prototype with the basic aspects in a quick and precise manner so time can be invested in developing the main project.