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Category: Prototyping

Prototyping – Fake it to Make it Big

Prototyping – Fake it to Make it Big

Speed is one thing that the mobile industry embodies through and through. From the continued growth of the market to the desired speed of applications as well as phones. This speedy industry is also hasty in the discovery and consumption of the “in thing” when it comes to mobile applications. The mobile app developer has had to adapt to this speedy world when it comes to the frequency of app development as the app life cycles are becoming increasingly short. This has brought the importance of prototyping to the forefront as wasted development time is not only time consuming but also expensive.

What is prototyping?

Prototyping is the process of creating an early approximation of a final product or in this case an application. You can build the whole product without worrying about building the complex backend technology and putting in place the infrastructure.  The prototype is created so that developers can test, iterate, and test yet again and rebuild until a desired or acceptable outcome is achieved. A prototype should be built for the lowest price possible to allow development to be cost effective.

Benefits of Prototyping

Being an Iterative process i.e. refining process prototyping has the following benefits:

  • Improvement of accuracy when it comes to the application’s functionality and system’s requirements helping to smooth over the user interface
  • Prototype provides the client as well as co-workers with a demonstration of your application during the development process
  • Detection of issues early on in the development process
  • Provides the developer 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 desirable end result. This also gives the client and end user a greater appreciation for the end product.

Prototyping Vs. Not Prototyping

Prototyping has some very clear benefits with some listed above it also has some faults or disadvantages too. One being the insufficient analysis of the entire project as the developers can at times be too focus on the prototype. This can lead to poorly develop applications as functionality or specifications will be neglected or put together haphazardly. The expense of development of a prototype may be high in some cases. Prototype development can be time-consuming if not implement correctly while its intended purpose is to hasten the development process. While prototyping can have its faults especially when the process is not undertaken correctly 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.

A prototype not only has the ability to inspire the person working on the application but also their co-workers enabling them to gain the drive to work even harder in their own projects. The 50% of a developer’s time is spent developing applications and rest of the time is dedicated to working with engineers. A prototype reduces this time as it answers a lot of the questions they might have.

Final thought

With 59% of applications not generating enough income to break even prototyping is all the more important. This process has been made easy with the availability of numerous tools available online on good example being SavahApp.com

How Simple Prototyping Platforms Can Win More Clients?

How Simple Prototyping Platforms Can Win More Clients?

The buzz word surrounding app development now seems to be ‘prototype’ as businesses and app designers strive to find a way to design a mock-up app. It’s difficult for clients to understand exactly how their app will work without seeing an example on a screen in front of them. But how is that beneficial for the designer? They can’t spend hours creating and coding an app for a presentation or demonstration, only to be turned down and paid nothing for the time and effort.

This challenge has made the way for simple prototype platforms which are really easy to learn. App prototyping platforms such as Savah App allow designers and agencies to create a fully functioning example of an app, in hardly any time at all, to show to prospective clients. Sound useful? Here are just a few of the benefits…

Save time – don’t code

With platforms such as Savah, you don’t have to write one single line of code. If you spent time coding an example app for each and every prospective client, you’d probably go bankrupt – it’s just not feasible as it is time consuming and you’re essentially working for free. Save time by producing a prototype which you can click-through, with no coding needed. With less time spent on coding, you can keep development and payroll costs low, which leads to a leaner, more efficient business.

It’s not a huge investment

You’d be forgiven for thinking that such a prototyping platform would be out of your budget. However, many of these tools on the market offer low cost subscriptions or even free versions. This means you have the potential to win a lot more clients with no initial investment. Take the time to discover the true price and you’ll find that micro and small business are well served – great news if you are on a budget and need tangible ROI.

Engage more clients by showing, not telling

The effectiveness of an interactive, engaging prototype should not be underestimated. Your client will fully understand how their app will work and what it will look like to users. Showing them is usually much more successful than telling them, and in this digital age it is simply not enough to show static image of home pages or flick through a bog standard Powerpoint presentation with a site map.

As you can see, using a prototyping app platform is a win-win situation. You’ll save precious time in the sample design stage, and end up securing more clients because you can effectively show them a mock-up of their app they can get excited about. If you can win more clients by using a free or low cost tool which is going to allow you to work smarter, then why wouldn’t you?

What do you think? Does creating prototypes for your web/mobile apps helps you to win more clients? I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on this in the comments below please.

Top 10 Evaluation Criteria when Selecting a Prototyping Tool

Top 10 Evaluation Criteria when Selecting a Prototyping Tool

Interactive prototyping for web and mobile apps is very important and has grown significantly over the past decade. There are many prototyping tools to choose from and this provides design agencies, designers, entrepreneurs and businesses with more options. To make life easier we would recommend the following evaluation criteria to select which prototyping tool works best for you as there is no one right tool that works for everyone.

Our proposed evaluation criteria:

  1. How easy is the tool to learn?

No design agency or an UI, UX designer wants to spend hours learning how to use a complicated platform. The good news is that there are tools in the market and they are pretty easy to get to grips with. The shorter learning cycle the better. In reality most designers don’t have the spare time to learn long-winded tools. In our opinion, a good start is ‘how easy and intuitive is the tool/platform to learn’.

  1. Does it come with support?

Support is good and if it’s quick, that’s a plus point. Problems and difficulties happen and having someone to contact to get support from is always a bonus. The quality and variety of support is also important. Are there help documents, guides, tutorials and videos on offer and available?

  1. How long does it take to create a prototype?

The actual time it takes to create your real-life prototype from uploading your image screens to prototype. There is no reason why creating a prototype should not be quick and simple with all the choices that are available in the market.

  1. Can you test on multiple devices

Does the tool/platform allow users to create a prototype for one device and test it out on all devices (ranging from smartphone to tablet and desktop)? This is a key requirement to determine the user experience across all devices. This allows users to quickly capture how their app looks and feels like across multiple devices before any coding has begun. In this way, it is quick and easy to change and improve designs before the app is built.

  1. How intuitive the tool is?

How easy and well does the tool/platform allow users to simulate end-users intended interaction? This includes transitions, scrolling, gestures, custom transitions, navigation between screens and overall display and appearance.

  1. How easy is it to share your prototypes with your team and clients?

The degree of features that is available on the tool/platform for sharing your prototypes to your team and clients. Are you limited to the number of people you can share your prototypes with? The rule of thumb in our opinion is to receive and take on board as much feedback as possible to each of your prototypes to refine and improve.

  1. How easy is it to collaborate on the prototype?

Does the platform/tool allow teams and collaborators to easily communicate on the design screens? Having the freedom to invite, as many or as little collaborators to each of your prototypes is a plus point. Does it support real-time design collaboration? The ability to have your team and clients discuss, iterate and collaborate in real-time on a prototype upon the design screen is definitely a key feature to look out for.

  1. Integration with other key tools?

Teams and businesses nowadays use so many other tools (e.g. Dropbox, Jira, SlackTrello) in their everyday activity. Having a built in integration with these third parties will help teams and businesses to automate a great deal of their work flow processes. This will help in saving time and ensuring that everyone is looking at the final versions.

  1. Can you keep track of all your design versions?

Feedback from your clients and team will surely bring many new design versions. Consequently, each feedback will provide a new design version and maintaining these versions can be very difficult to manage especially when you are working with large projects when dealing with more than 50+ design screens. Does the platform/tool provide a design repository to maintain all versions? A key question when selecting a tool/platform should be whether it has a built in version history control panel that is quick and easy to view your evolving design files?

  1. Pricing

This is last but by no means least, how much does the tool/platform cost to use? Some providers charge licence fees, yearly subscriptions, rolling month contracts and many more. All pricing plans are different and are all based on the number of users as well as the number of add-on features that they are offering. In our opinion, we feel the best two pricing plans are your rolling month contract. In this contract you can cancel at any time and you are not signed up for a long contract. As you may not like the tool/platform or feel that this particular one is not right for you. We also believe the pricing should increase with the number of users/projects. In this way, customers are only paying for what they are using.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, evidence beats opinion. Clients don’t want endless PowerPoint’s and back-and-forth emails and not to mention never-ending meetings and specification documents. Instead they want to see evidence they want to grasp and play with the prototype ‘like a real app’ on their computer or mobile.

By embracing prototyping agencies and businesses will be working smarter not harder when they adopt to using a prototyping tool. Resulting in more time to enjoy, happier teams and clients. Everyone will start winning.

An important point to remember is that there are many prototyping tools available in the market and the importance of finding the best one that suits you, your team and clients needs. We hope you have found our evaluation criteria helpful.

We would love to discuss this further. Please leave your comments below.

Why Should Digital Agencies Integrate Prototyping?

Why Should Digital Agencies Integrate Prototyping?

Businesses and Digital Agencies are one of the most dynamic fast-paced working environments. This in itself brings about many demands and challenges where no two days are the same. On a typical day agencies work really hard to win clients going above and beyond their call of duty to build trust and long-term relationships. Validation of client’s designs is forefront. Both clients and consumers expectations have grown resulting in more pressure on agencies to go the extra mile to win new clients. Winning a web or mobile app from a potential client has become more dependent on tangible demonstrations. Clients are bored of long specification and long-winded documents. Clients instead want to understand and visualise how their end-users will interact with and use the web or mobile app they want to build step-by-step.

How to win more Clients?

But currently agencies are working too hard trying to win new clients. They are in and out of face-to-face meetings trying to earn client confidence alongside making sure projects and deliverable progress are ready on time before the next meeting. It even gets more complicated to produce documents for user interaction and user experience. The problem is that nobody wants to read these documents but would rather interact and test the web or mobile app itself. With every meeting comes new ideas/changes, which means another design version. Managing these versions becomes a chore especially if the project vision and scope was not clear from the beginning. This all becomes time consuming and confusing for all parties.

How to work smarter?

Savah-Build-designWorking hard is essential but at the same time working smarter is what really matters the most. What are the rewards for agencies to incorporate prototyping into their day-to-day work?

A Prototype allows everyone to be involved smartly from day one in rapidly exploring options and validating design in line with user interaction. An interactive click-through prototype gives us a true likeness of what the final web or mobile app will work and feel like.

Click-through prototyping gives teams more autonomy to experiment without the fear of getting it wrong. In this way, teams become more resourceful and inquisitive as well as much more comfortable with ambiguity and imperfection. Thus, ideas for web and mobile apps are shared more courageously, simulating the flow of the user experience, as with prototyping it is cheap to fail. Thus, prototypes are great for pitching and selling reducing the need for long specification documents. There are some great prototyping tools like Savah to choose from and this provides agencies and businesses with more options to explore a ways to work smarter to get more things done.