Prototyping is an experimental process where design teams implement ideas into tangible forms from paper to digital. Teams build prototypes of varying degrees of fidelity to capture design concepts and test on users.
With prototypes, you can refine and validate your designs so your brand can release the right products.
Building a prototype is fundamental to make a tangible and close-to-real version of the idea of the product we want to make.
Avoid early commitment. A prototype allows a company to realise, iterate and test a close-to-real version of a product saving production cost of real implementation and makes possible to tweak and change direction if the original idea is incomplete or faulty.
A prototype allows to show to the audience ( users or stakeholders ) a realistic simulation of the final product. The benefit of this practice is the opportunity to test and evaluate the look and functionality of a product without the commitment and the cost of the final production..
A prototype gives a great opportunity to play with a close-to-real product in order to spot flaws, test functionality, evaluate aesthetic and experience, spot opportunities and improve specific parts of it.
Designing a Prototype
PROS: Fast and cheap; disposable; easy to make changes and test new iterations; allow a quick overall view of the product; anyone can produce them; encourage design thinking since prototypes are visibly not finalized..
CONS: Lack of realism, so users might have a hard time giving feedback; hard to apply results from crude early versions; may be too basic to reflect the user experience of the finished product; can oversimplify complex issues; lack of interactivity deprives users of direct control; users must imagine how they would use the product.
PROS: Engaging—all stakeholders have the vision realised in their hands and can judge how well it matches users’ needs and solves their problems; testing will yield more accurate, more applicable results; versions closest to the final product enable you to predict how users will take to it in the marketplace.
CONS: Longer/costlier to create; users are more likely to comment on superficial details than on content; after hours of work, you the designer are likely to dislike the idea of making changes, which can take considerable time; users may mistake the prototype for the finished product and form biases.