Rapid Prototyping: A Roadmap to Successful Software
Research has shown that 70% of innovation and transformation projects don’t achieve their definition of ‘done’.
Although there are a number of complex factors that combine together to cause these challenges, one often overlooked concept is the idea of reducing longer tail risk and failure by moving fast and making things.
Rapid prototyping is a design approach aimed at speeding up product development and the innovation lifecycle efficiently. You may have heard developers talking about it before, but not considered it as an approach to your product’s design process.
We’re going to run through everything you need to know about this effective and fast-paced approach to digital product design. Whether you’re wanting to develop software, an app, or looking to upgrade your website, rapid prototyping can help you deliver quickly.
Why Invest Time in Rapid Prototyping?
The answer is in the name, but the benefits of this design approach are numerous. We’ve boiled it down to three core reasons why this is the most productive solution to developing your digital products:
It prioritises the features and functionality that truly matter to its end-user. Focusing on improving the 20% of core features that account for 80% of the impact. Rapid prototyping focuses you on the outcomes that matter most to your users.
Saves wasted effort by highlighting early on any blinding mistakes that could hinder product development.
It will save you precious time. Done right, you can be confident in advancing your project at full-speed to get it to market much faster.
What is Rapid Prototyping?
It is a strategic process applied to the design phase of a product. It aims to create iteratively - meaning - you create and test many new versions to improve the design of a product.
It seeks to root out common design problems in the user experience by testing each prototype on real end-users. Speedy iterations of a product are created and tested to expose the quickest way to improve the product.
Rapid prototyping can be broken down into 3 main phases.
Design and Prototyping: The process of brainstorming your ideas, sketching them out and creating an initial product.
Testing & Feedback: Testing the product on real end-users in the most realistic way possible to extract valuable feedback.
Improvement: Using the feedback and ideas generated from the previous prototype to create a new prototype that resolves previous issues.
The process is cyclical. It requires constant testing and collaboration between design teams. The result, however, is a finished product that can hold its own when released.
7 Steps to Implement a Rapid Prototyping Philosophy into your design?
Are you thinking about using rapid prototyping but don’t know how? Here’s a simple approach to get stuck in straight away.
1. Develop your idea
You’ve got a great idea of the product you want to create. Start outlining the basics. What is it? Who is it for? What devices do I want it to be available on? What are the main features?
2. Brainstorm product requirements
Get creative. Write down all your product requirements. Note everything you can think of first.
3. Create sketches of the products
This can be done on paper or digitally (at Komodo we use our Imaginarium!). Draw up the initial interface, screens, pages, or any other visual elements you might need. Don’t worry if it isn’t perfect or pretty.
4. Transform sketches into a wireframe
A wireframe is a basic functioning version of your product. It should work on a level that can be interacted with by your lucky test subjects, but also malleable and easy to rework.
5. Create the prototype
Your wireframe should lead you to a prototype. It should feel as complete as possible. Try to include enough detail to make it feel real. If not, your testers may not give you the highest quality feedback.
6. Test on real stakeholders and end-users
Unleash your prototype on your users and get good quality feedback. Make sure you document all your data to make sure nothing slips under the radar!
7. Adjust and improve elements based on user feedback Take all that you’ve learned from your testing and apply it to your product.
As mentioned previously, this is a cyclical process. Repeat the final steps until you reach your desired product. After the process, it will be battle-hardened and ready for the real world!
Our Approach to Rapid Prototyping
Komodo uses this methodology to create the very best user experience by applying it with our interdisciplinary design approach. Our creative thinking and sector-specific savvy create detailed and professional products that captivate clients and audiences alike.
Our approachable and highly-skilled team believes in co-creation. We work with you side-by-side to deliver the best possible product. If you choose to work with us, we take it seriously.
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