Prototyping is the process of creating a functional mockup of your product before development. Prototyping helps you make sure your product works as intended and solves your users’ problem, before you write your first line of code. User feedback on your prototype gives you insight needed to improve the idea while it’s still easy to make those changes.
High or low fidelity?
There are a few different methods of prototyping! The method of prototyping you choose will depend on what stage you’re at in the design process, your collaboration needs, and personal preference. Some users prefer to sketch with a pen and paper when putting down their initial designs while others may prefer a digital mock-up so they can more easily collaborate in real time with other designers.
A low-fidelity prototype would be one that gets the general idea of the product down at an earlier stage of the process, while a high fidelity prototype would be one that looks and feels more like the real thing, and typically takes more time to put together, and is used most often at later stages of the design process.
Prototypes are great for testing out ideas and understanding the needs and behaviours of your users. They’re also a great way to demonstrate ideas to stakeholders with the ability to iterate quickly.
Slow down to speed up
Adding an additional step to your design process might seem like it will take longer to get your designs out there, but prototyping will save you a lot of time in the long run. Taking the time to go through the prototyping process means any issues are identified early, avoiding having to make difficult and time consuming changes later down the line in development.
Finding a problem with your product in the development phase means more work for the development team and more time and resources spent reworking your product. If you have a prototype you’re happy with before development starts you can be sure the development of your final product will go smoothly.
Since prototyping in Marvel is so fast you can easily make changes to your project as you get feedback. It’s much quicker to incorporate feedback from users into a prototype than into a developed project. Being able to make these changes quickly ensures your product will solve your user’s problem.
Even if you prefer to sketch out your ideas using pen and paper, your designs can be brought into Marvel and turned into an interactive prototype in a matter of minutes. Since the prototyping step ultimately ensures your product is as usable and useful as it can be, it’s worth the extra effort!
Easier to start gaining insights
User testing is a method of evaluating the performance of your product through feedback from your users. User Testing in Marvel provides audio, video, and screen recording of the user’s journey through your product along with insights like time spent on each screen, misclicks, and whether the user hit the goal screen if one was set.
There are many questions you can answer about your design through user testing including:
- Does the user understand the benefits of the product in these marketing materials?
- How long does it take a user to find their billing information?
- What does a user expect to happen when they click specific buttons?
- What information is missing when completing a purchase on your website?
- Can a user complete important tasks without getting lost?
You may be tempted to wait until your product is live to test it but that can lead to more work down the road. Prototypes in Marvel are easily duplicated and updated allowing you to iterate on your ideas without the hassle of updating code and deploying an update. Prototyping first, means you’ll go live with a tested and optimised version of your product.
Building in stakeholder feedback
The insights you get from having users test your prototypes through user testing will likely give you a list of things to tweak or improve in the design or flow of your project.
Collaboration, and involving others in the design process, has been core to how we’ve built prototyping in Marvel. Bringing users into the process, seeing how they interact with the prototype and listening to their ideas, gives you more data points. More data ultimately means more informed decisions about the product, leading to better product outcomes.
To go one step further, you could consider using co-creation from the start. Co-creation has been found to be one of the best ways of making a product that will best solve a user’s problem. Co-creation is the process of inviting feedback from stakeholders (usually customers) and enabling them to participate in the ideation or design process, producing an outcome that’s beneficial to everyone involved.
Instead of designing your product with a fictional persona in mind, co-creation allows you to work alongside users and stakeholders to create something that perfectly addresses their challenges. Incorporating that feedback at the prototyping stage will save you time, resources, and make your product better in the long run.
Prototyping is an integral part of the design process for any digital product. Set yourself up for success from the beginning by adding prototyping to your design process. Start prototyping in Marvel today.