26 Mar 2020
Get started with Prototypes
Part 3 of our series on realizing your digital idea by building websites and apps. Read the first and second articles of the series.
This article is about creating prototypes – how it works, why it can be a good idea and what prototypes are used for.
What is a Prototype?
A prototype is a stripped-down and simple version of your final product, to show that the idea is sound and working.
Why Build a Prototype?
Quick and Cheap
When it is important to get ahead quickly, perhaps the best solution is to develop an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) or a POC (Proof of Concept) to be able to test your ideas with less risk.
Prototypes are used to show that the main idea and basic functionality are sound and working, but do not need to be ready for production or launch. This greatly reduces how much time and money has to be spent.
If you have an idea, a prototype can be a vital step to reaching your goal. Using a prototype, you can quickly test out the potential of different ideas, analyze the results and adjust accordingly.
Examples of commonly used tests for digital applications are so-called A/B tests (results from two different versions are compared to determine which version is the most effective), or user testing with different target groups. Testing and iterating create a solid foundation to build upon.
Sometimes it can be difficult to convince others of the great benefits and excellence of something that only exists on paper. In those situations, it can be helpful to show the concept and your ideas work in real life.
Talking to investors, you might need to have something to show them to get to the next step. A prototype is just that.
It can be perceived as safer to invest in a prototype that exists, than in promises alone. At the same time, you show that you can make things happen.
How to Build a Prototype
To be able to build a prototype, it is very helpful if there is a clear specification of what functionalities should be included and the purpose of the endeavor. Based on that, the most important features will be selected for the prototype.
Try to remember that a prototype is just a prototype and not a finished product. The focus is on being able to test and verify that the main idea works.