It’s a well-acknowledged fact that majority of the mobile apps are used only once. And almost 62% of the app users dump the app after one month.
This is where app prototyping helps. While the wireframe outlines the blueprint, a mockup gives you an idea about the feel and texture of the design. However, it’s the prototyping that brings alive the app experience.
It helps you test the various features and functionalities of the app before its full-scale launch. For example, the CTA button may look solid on screen, but to know whether it’s effective or not you need a clickable prototype. Prototypes not only offer proof of concept, it mainly helps you figure out the flaws in the wireframes and mockups.
It helps validate the product, specifically in terms of the right market fit and user experience. This will help cut down costs before proceeding with further development.
In this piece, we’ll discuss the 7 top reasons to prototype and how prototypes help improve collaboration, design and usability testing.
7 Reasons to App Prototyping
If you think skipping prototyping will save you some design time, think again. It’s because that surplus time could be lost when you may have to redesign your app, in case the app launch doesn’t go as planned. In other words, if the app features and functionalities do not sit right with the user, you may have to focus on app re-development.
Source: Product Management Tree Swing
People always try new clothes, or for that matter, test electronic gadgets before buying them, to make sure they don’t have to regret their decisions later on. Likewise, you need to test drive your app through various prototyping stages before they go into the development stage. This will ensure that developers, designers, clients, and stakeholders are on the same page, and differences of opinions sorted out asap.
So, let’s check out the 7 points which will give you a fair idea as to why prototyping is a must for the mobile app development process.
#1. Enables Wetting and Exploring Ideas Early On
App Prototyping is all about wetting an idea before the actual app development process begins. For one, it helps identify and rectify problems at the initial stages itself rather than at the end. Another thing being, it allows you to explore new ideas and solutions early on. The biggest plus being, prototyping doesn’t demand a considerable investment.
#2. Helps in Collaborating & Communicating
Show, don’t tell, they say. So, if people can interact with your prototype, they’ll be able to understand your ideas better. Most importantly, it will involve people, both internally and externally during the various prototyping stages. Internally means, both designers and developers could collaborate during the prototyping stages and be on the same page in terms of features and functionality. Externally means, even clients and stakeholders could tinker with the prototype and offer their two cents on the app development process.
#3. Enables Design Balance
Prototyping is the stage when ideas take shape. So this stage help makes better decisions in terms of ergonomics, form, function, production, and so on. A working prototype offers instant feedback, which helps the developer and designer to make an educated guess. Simply put, it provides reliable feedback for all senses, which, in turn, will give you a fair idea on UX priorities.
#4. Makes Usability Testing Easier
Wireframes, mockups, and prototypes all have different purposes. Wireframing helps create a solid structure, while mockups help creates prototype functionalities. However, it’s prototyping that gives shape to ideas and brings the app to life. The app is still in its raw form at this stage that calls for constant refinement and perfection.
Running usability test at every stage of prototyping helps vouch for the functionalities to see whether they are moving in the right direction. However, make sure that you hire test-takers from your targeted audience only because only they’ll be able to offer appropriate feedback. Not to mention, analyze results to see what findings could be incorporated into your design.
#5. Higher Client Involvement
The app prototyping stages not only ensure idea exploration but, more importantly, make way for client feedback. This way, the app will not only identify your company’s values but also will be in keeping with the client’s vision.
#6. Limited Investment
Businesses invest limited capital resources during the prototyping stages. Stakeholders are not involved. Only once its finally confirmed that the product would work that stakeholders investment is called for.
#7. Study Market Demand
It’s not that easy to create a product that results in deeper customer engagement these days. This is where prototyping helps. It’s easy to know the market demand by running the prototype through a user test.
Generally, mobile app costs range from $8,000 to $20,0000 depending on complexity. Plus, dealing with the app store regulations is not easy. Up-Front prototyping helps saves time, money, and sanity.