Rapid Prototype Development And Why It’s Important

Mike Sofka
December 17, 2019

What do vehicles, appliances, skyscrapers, bridges, even something so simple as an ink pen have in common? If you answered ‘things we use every day’, while technically you are correct, the correct answer is that each of these very important items was not just thought of and then immediately built or constructed. If that were the case, imagine the disastrous outcome of a vehicle that was not aerodynamically designed or a building that was not properly engineered to withstand an earthquake. Instead, engineers, through discovery meetings, careful planning and research first created a prototype to test their idea on a smaller scale. With tweaking and refinement of the prototype, the engineers are able to more cost-effectively develop a production-ready product.

When it comes to a website, web application or a mobile application, this building process must take the same approach if it is to be successful. Without a web prototype constructed, based on the proper requirements, knowledge, and structure, a website or application will “virtually collapse”, meaning a web product will be created, but the end result will not garner the sales, traffic or exposure to a business that’s desired. This process is called rapid prototype development. It starts off with a discovery meeting to understand the business, needs, and goals. With that knowledge in hand, the design process begins by wire-framing out the web site or application on a whiteboard. After approval, the design team brings the whiteboard sketches to life and uploads the design mockups to one of their favorite prototyping tools, Invision. Within Invision is where the prototype takes shape. Through clickable regions and interactions, the web site or application begins to feel like a real product that is presentable to business associates or investors as a proof-of-concept.

One of the primary benefits of rapid prototype development is that it is an inexpensive way to demo a product to investors and decisions-makers and provide them with an immersive experience of how a product will truly act. In a short period of time, dreams become a visible, interactive reality. From the time of the initial sit down face-to-face to discuss goals, to when there will be a usable, demonstration-ready product in-hand, it’s amazing so many other businesses have not used this method before. With the iterative approach, a prototype can grow and transform as the need arises which allows a business to get to a solution faster.

 

Mike Sofka is an illustrator in Nashville, TN. He has worked as an illustrator and graphic designer for the Walt Disney Company, Crayola, the Los Angeles Kings, Veggietales, The Home Depot, and many other wonderful companies. If you are in need of a graphic designer or illustrator, he would love to speak with you!