Why we love to go from idea to prototype super quickly

Why we love to go from idea to prototype super quickly

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Why we love to go from idea to prototype super quickly

There is something that we call "the power of the prototype" at HelloDigital: It describes the moment you see your new product idea take real, tangible form for the first time. It is magical. It has the power to propel your project forward – or stop a disaster from happening.

In fact, prototypes have so many benefits that it is hard for us to list them all. So for today, we will focus on the five biggest ones.

A great prototype sells an idea better than any static design

You have the PowerPoint. You have the strategy paper. You have the budget sheets. Maybe you even have a first design to show.

But there is still doubt. Will it work? Can we really pull it off? Is it not too ambitious?

Showing something that works even if it's still in rough shape can alleviate a lot of these concerns. You already left the field of the theoretical and ventured into the real world. The first steps toward production are made, and if what you show works, it can create a lot of buy-in from wary stakeholders.

A prototype allows you to spot flaws easily and early

Often, something that is conceptually valid and indeed looks nice in design may ultimately feel off during actual use. Without prototypes, we would discover such flaws very late in the process – when we might already have committed large amounts of resources towards development.

Better to see flaws early and fix them, before they move too far down the production line.

A prototype allows for creative discovery

There are moments in all creative processes where you suddenly stumble upon something great. So a big part of the creative process is actually making sure that these moments can happen regularly.

We believe that the closer you work with the actual material of the final product, the easier it is to generate such moments.

Imagine working with clay for a moment: You might have an idea for a cup that you want to make, but while you are in the process of forming it as you had it in mind, it takes on an interesting form – a form you might like even better. You wouldn't have found this new, improved form when sketching out your idea for that cup on paper. It is something that came out of the interaction with the material itself.

And a prototype is doing just the same for digital products: Digital material put into form.

A prototype begs for user testing

You might already know that we are big fans of user-testing, and one thing that we love to show users is - drumroll - a prototype!

Now, yes, this might seem obvious!

But it is still something worth pointing out. If you have a prototype, you might as well show it to someone. It makes the step of actually committing to user testing easier because now you already have an artifact to talk about.

A prototype is a worth a 1000 words of documentation

Have you ever tried to accurately describe a page transition in an app? Like, how long it takes? The easing pattern? How the scaling works for the disappearing page?

It's hard. And it's very likely to be misunderstood by the person responsible for implementing it in the final product.

A prototype lets us show how that transition works. And we even have code that we can share with the production team to let them build upon. This results in fewer feedback loops and better communication between design and engineering, as everyone speaks "one language".

We strive to have some form of prototypes in all our projects. From convincing internal stakeholders, to finding and fixing problems early, to facilitating design / development handover – the benefits are too great to ignore.