Whatever kind of product or service you sell, digital prototyping is a crucial process that affects the entire cycle from testing, production and manufacturing right through to sales.

And when it comes to websites, APPs and digital marketing, the product prototype development process is no different. It can be the make or break for your product and even your whole business.

Every step of this process is obviously extremely important for successful prototype development. However, perhaps the linchpin that that holds everything together is the design phase. The design thinking for prototype creation can make or break an entire initiative. If your initial design is ineffective or faulty, then every other aspect of your product design and prototyping process will fall like dominoes.

What is Digital Prototyping?

Digital prototyping is a design thinking based solution for visualising, simulating and  communication for a digital innovation. It could be a small tweak or a disruptive change, either way it is important to build and test a prototype, as this practice, in the absence of a full test market will iron out imperfections and incorrect assumptions. Most importantly it will enhance your chances of success upon launch.

According to the book Sprint a Digital Prototype mindset consists of 4 key principles:Digital PrototypingThe digital prototype team should consist of the following:

• Makers (typically designers or engineers)

• Stitchers (typically designers or engineers)

• Writers

• Asset collectors

• Interviewers

Makers create the individual components for the prototype such as pages, buttons and other essential elements. Designers are ready with the right skill sets to attack this phase with confidence.

And Stitchers collect the components and pull together a solution or a series of prototype solutions. Designers again, are uniquely placed to use tools like Keynote, PowerPoint, Square Space and InVision to rapidly build a prototype that can be tested with end users in a realistic representation.

Digital Prototyping

So let’s take a look at why your designer can be the make or break ingredient when it comes to your digital prototyping.

Early design involvement saves time

Why wait until you get to the end of your innovation phase to obtain input from the people who will create the tangible customer experience of the new digital product or application? Your designer will add significant value in each stage of your innovation process, whether that be brainstorming sessions, user testing and carrying out paper prototyping exercises. 

Your designer is uniquely placed to uncover relevant insights from future users of the product because they are not business model focused like marketers and commercial team members. Designers are all about the user experience which will not only make your design better, but provide a counter balance to any internal thinking that strays away from customer needs. Plus their early involvement will also help save time making changes after the testing phase further down the track.

When it comes to design thinking, a prototype shouldn’t be a million miles away from what customers and users actually want or need. And early involvement of design is central to better anticipation of the needs and preferences of product users, which facilitates the creation of a higher quality and more effective initial design.

Designers keep Prototyping simple

Project teams can unwittingly add complexity to product innovation and as humans, we have an increasingly short attention span thanks to the influx of digital communication channels, and general content we have available to us 24/7. So when it comes to designing your digital prototype, keep it as easy as possible for users to understand and navigate. 

Having a good designer in your team can help make user interactions as simple as possible. A good user experience designer will also provide your team with options and scenarios that can be tested with end users.

Focus on Prototype function, but not at the expense of ‘form’

Remember, digital prototypes don’t have to be glamorous or spotless, they simply have to work. Here your designer can stop wasting your time on sketching things because this is their expertise even if looks are not important at this stage. 

The focus on the workflow for your digital prototype is natural at this stage, however having creative ‘left brain’ thinkers in your workshops helps push assumptions and create possibilities ‘right brain’ thinkers often miss.

In the age of experience, design is your make or break ingredient in digital prototyping.

Digital prototyping is a complex and crucial part of your innovation plans. When it comes to getting the design just right, this article is just the tip of the iceberg! If you’re unsure about your design needs or the effectiveness of your current digital prototype designs, don’t be afraid to outsource the work to a company that specialises in this area.

For help getting the most out of your website, get in touch with our Website Design & Development Team today. We’re here to help!

Ultimate guide to digital strategy call to action