Smartphone has changed people life as well as many industries (in both directly and indirectly) since the first release of Apple iPhone in 2007. The smartphone introduces a concept of apps (mobile app prototyping) to do one specific task. Over the years, we saw the trends emerged towards the massive adoption of the smartphones as well as the apps for everything. So hundreds of new apps are being built and make it available for smartphone owners. This is where the speed matters in introducing the new innovative apps and enable teams to get the feedback from their users. As the time goes by the smartphones were getting better and better to support large processing tasks and processing pixel perfect designs. The mobile app designers and developer has had to adapt to this fast-moving world when it comes to the frequency of app development as the app new updates life cycles are becoming increasingly short. The quicker the teams get feedback from their end users they will be able to make the change based on the user responses. This will improve the (customer)user experience which enhances app engagement and mayhap generates more revenue.
This has led the importance of app prototyping to the forefront of building apps first and start getting the real feedback from the actual users. This process could be lengthy and expensive if following traditional approaches.
What is app prototyping?
App Prototyping is the process of creating an early approximation of a final product or in this situation a mobile (iPhone, Android or Web) app. With this app prototyping approach, you can build the whole product without worrying about developing the complex backend technology and putting in place any IT infrastructure. Once the app prototype has been created then the teams (both designers, app developers) can test with real users (ideally with a targeted audience), iterate, and test yet again. The team can redesign and rebuild prototype quickly and cheaply as many times until a desired or acceptable outcome is achieved for a business.
A prototype should be aiming to build a complete business use case for the real users and with an aim to get the feedback and ask many questions (if in-person session) or online surveys to understand the user behaviour and responses for their actions. The whole point of this exercise should be to test the pre-defined business assumptions and justify designing and building an actual product. The duration of this process could be from days to months for complex app processes. The shorter the process is better to achieve the right results and be open to adopting changes from this exercise. This app prototyping process allows teams to challenge initial business assumption and to explore new opportunities based on the customer’s feedback.
Benefits of Prototyping
There are a dozen benefits of creating app prototypes for the product (mobile app or web app) you intend to design and build. This process also helps to understand the purpose and what value the app will bring to your business and to your customers. The followings are the key benefits of app prototyping.
◾ Being an Iterative process
◾Improvement of accuracy when it comes to the app functionality and system’s requirements. This will helps with the smooth defining user interface
◾The marketing team will have a clear understanding of the new product that’s being built
◾A Support team will have access to the product that looks real but its fake. They will continue working on creating user manual or preparing the training manuals
◾App prototype provides the client and co-workers with a demonstration of your application during the development process
◾Detection of issues early on in the development process
◾Provides the app developers with the capability to estimate development costs, timelines and resource requirements
◾Prototyping enables the developer to exchange feedback and explore ideas with the client and end user aiding in the creation of the desired result. This also gives the client and end user a greater appreciation for the end product.
Disadvantages for App Prototyping
So we have covered the benefits of the app prototyping, and as you guess, the app prototyping has some faults or disadvantages too. One being the insufficient analysis of the entire project as the app developers at times also focus on the prototype. This can lead to a prototype may be high in some cases. App prototype designing and development can be time-consuming if not implemented correctly. Aforementioned, its intended purpose is to hasten the development process. While prototyping can have its faults especially when the process is not undertaken successfully the not undergoing the process has little to no benefits as it is time-consuming and expensive especially if you have to rewrite code which consumes resources.
Let me know what you think? If you create prototypes in your last app project how was it? Please leave your comments, and I’d love to get your feedback.