Whether it’s building your site from scratch or developing your first mobile app, everything starts with an idea.

But converting your idea into a successful product requires different steps.

Building a prototype of your product is a crucial step between designing and development. Prototypes help you validate your idea faster while saving costs.

The prototype shows how your software works; it may be a wireframe of a website or a video on how your app looks and functions. You can use it to explain your product during investor pitches to get funding.

In a nutshell,  creating a prototype plays a crucial role in the software development cycle (SDLC).

In this blog, we will show you how to create a perfect prototype for your software project.

Let’s get started.

Table of Contents

What is a Prototype of a Product?

A prototype is the functional product of your idea, but not the final product. Like other industries, creating a prototype in the software sector will show how your software works and how it will address the customers' pain points.

Especially in the software industry, the UX/UI design will directly impact the customers. To ensure that the UX/UI design goes smoothly, you need a prototype.

Also, the prototypes are cost-efficient, and you can see how your idea can be converted into a profitable product with minimum resources and budget.

Four Types of Prototype

Here are the four types of prototype:

      1. Rapid prototyping: It is also known as rapid throwaway prototyping. This type of prototype is not included in the development phase; once you get the reviews and feedback, it will be discarded, as the name suggests. The feedback collected will be used in the development process. It requires very minimal effort and resources to build.
      2. Evolutionary prototyping: In this type, you will develop the prototype is developed to get feedback from the customers. The feedback collected will be used to revamp the same prototype. Once the customer or developers accepts the prototype, it will be used as the reference for the development. This prototype begins with simple designs and minimum functionality, and it will end up as a model for future releases.
      3. Incremental prototyping: In incremental prototyping, the final product will be divided into sub-parts. Separate prototypes will be developed for all the prototypes; once all the sub prototypes are developed, they will be merged to create the final product. This is one effective type of prototyping. With this type of prototype, errors will be highly reduced because every subsection gets tested beforehand.
      4. Extreme prototyping: Extreme prototyping is highly suitable for web development projects. This type has three sequential independent phases. These prototypes will make the development process highly focused on product delivery rather than unnecessary features.

How to Create Prototype of a Product?

The prototyping itself has some steps to create. Before immersing our hands in the designing part, we need to be aware of some of the essential information regarding the project. Let's get started with the idea itself.

Steps to create a prototype of a product:

      • Step 1. Understand your idea: Start with analysing the exact idea of the project. Understand the pain points your e app or website is going to address. Learn the unique selling point of the project. The idea may be simple, but it may sometimes cover a large audience at the initial stage itself. So you have to understand the market at the next stage.
      • Step 2. Identify and research your market: In this stage, understand the whole concept of what you will do with your idea. Learn about the:
              • Target audience and their demography
              • How large is the customer base?
              • Research your competitors.
              • Understand the competitor's products.
              • Learn about the colour codes suitable.
        After researching the market, have a meeting with your team to find out the requirements for your prototype. When you finalise the features you are going to add, prioritise the pain points of your customers. Use surveys, market research and direct interview with the target audience to do the research.
      • Step 3. Comprehend your requirements: The requirement of the prototype for the projects differs from one another. Usually, the requirements are:
              • To attract investors - show how the project works
              • To understand the exact idea - what you deliver
              • To use as a model for the future development - You can calculate all the needs for the future development like time, resources and more.
              • To collect feedback from the audience - One-time usage
        When you know why you need a prototype, you can move forward to develop the prototype.
      • Step 4. Create your initial prototype: The first prototype may be a simple sketch or any wireframe using pen and paper. But start it.
              1. Sketch your idea:You can use a pen, paper, whiteboard or sticky notes. You can sketch out each page of the website or mobile app using simple presentations. You will get an idea of how many pages you will need and where the features will go. On getting a basic idea, you can move to make it into a digital prototype.
              2. Make it digital: With the basic idea with the sketch, you can digitalise your idea. You can use tools like Invision and POP for making digital prototypes. Digital prototypes will give you the whole idea of how you will shift from one page to another and the colour codes you will use. You can simply add the features to the digital prototyping platforms for instant results.
      • Step 5. Test and review the prototype: After creating the prototype you can show it to the target audience or your employees for better reviews. Identify the important feedback that most of the users report. Highlight the issues and revamp accordingly.
      • Step 6. Revise and improve: Once you get the feedback, try to analyse all the feedback and point out the issue most users report. Pindown all the issues you think you have addressed and revise the prototype according to the feedback.
      • Step 7. Repeat it again: Test, review and improve your prototype until you create the perfect version.

Tools to Create Prototypes

Below is the list of 10 best used digital prototype models.

      1. InVision
      2. Adobe experience design
      3. Origami studio
      4. Figma
      5. Sketch
      6. Axure
      7. Balsamiq
      8. Justinmind
      9. Webflow
      10. Flinto

Advantages of Creating a Product Prototype

      • Provides functionality and interaction
      • Helps in validating your idea
      • Raises all the questions beforehand
      • Helps collect feedback at teh very early stage
      • Make the real communication with investors
      • Detect errors beforehand
      • Minimises cod reworks and bugs
      • Make the product user friendly with feedback
      • Better collaboration with team members
      • Saves time, money and resources

Conclusion

The prototype is the essential part and you can’t ignore it. You just need a perfect idea and user audience understanding for creating a perfect prototype.

With good tools and ideas, you can easily create a model for development. Many times the prototype has served as big marketing material for many companies.

Be aware of why are you creating the prototype and what you are going to do it for better results. Cheers for your next software product development project.

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