What is it
A prototype is a disposable mock-up of the finished product. It is used to test and validate designs with target users. Towards the end of the design phase it will look and react like the real thing and enables detailed testing and validation with users of the finished product. At the beginning of the design phase it may be a simple paper mock-up to help explore the many options that could be selected at that point and serves to test value propositions and to validate which direction to go.
Prototyping a potential solution in a rapid and iterative manner generates feedback early and often, improving the final design and reducing the need for changes during development.
Prototyping starts with paper prototypes enabling instant testing and iteration of the design. Then, progresses to medium fidelity wireframes in a prototyping programme like Sketch (Mac) of Adobe XD (PC) enabling testing of clickable prototypes on screen with selected target users. Finally, as the majority of issues are solved, UI and CI are added to create high fidelity wireframes which look like the finished product and go through a final round of user testing to validate all elements of the experience. At every stage we aim to put the latest iteration of the prototype in the hands of real target users to learn what needs improving and validate designs and solutions.
Typically, 3-5 rounds of user testing enables us to resolve 99% of usability issues. This significantly increases the chances of adoption by target users and decreases the risk of building a product or service that users don’t want and can’t use.
Prototyping and testing is the gold standard for ensuring your service is usable, useful and desirable.
Paper prototyping is an established lean UX methodology to accelerate and de-risk solution design. We build prototypes representing the interface and flow of a system using paper cut outs and hand drawn elements. The method is fast, allowing for testing of multiple options and for rapid iteration.
Medium fidelity wireframes
Using the iterated paper prototypes as a starting point, we build wireframes (digital representation of an interface) in the prototyping tool Sketch. We then create clickable areas in the wireframe, enabling us to test the prototype with users.
High fidelity wireframes
We use the tested wireframes and design a User Interface (UI) that is in line with your Corporate Identity. We use a human centred design approach, and test different options before building out the system. UI affects usability and so we test with users to validate the design.