From idea to impact with prototyping? Use the three P's!

Are your designs for apps and websites a guaranteed success? Do you always hit the mark? From the outside, it seems like some companies and entrepreneurs have the Midas touch. But in truth, they simply excel in one crucial skill: prototyping. Investing in prototyping pays off in more ways than one. We all know that product and service innovation can be beneficial. The trick is to do it quickly, and retain and gain customers. Speed is of the essence in a complex environment where existing IT infrastructure and past choices can form obstacles for innovation. Your chances of success can be improved by prototyping your design for a product or service. So how do you use prototyping to go from idea to impact? When do you use it and what are the benefits? And how about those three P’s?

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When should you consider prototyping?

Designers use prototyping to find out if users like their design for an app or website. By incorporating prototyping into your design process, you check whether users appreciate your innovation. There are major benefits to inserting this step early on in the design process. It’s a quick way to learn whether your concept works or not, and if you should continue on your path. Even if you conclude that the design should be aborted, this is good news – as you can stop wasting time and money on something that will most likely fail. But success can also depend on the people responsible for the development of a digital product. Separate departments often have an incomplete picture of the entire customer journey. By structuring your prototyping stage well, you avoid that your digital product is the brainchild of only a select few.

Types of prototypes

There is no limit to the number of prototypes you can deploy. But of course, you should delimitate them. There are four main reasons to use a prototype:

  • Een idee uitleggen in beeld, niet in woorden
  • Explaining an idea visually, instead of with words.
  • Selling your idea to external, but especially to internal parties.
  • Collecting feedback from real-world users.
  • Developing your concept, including the technical functioning of the innovation.

We can also discern between low-fidelity and high-fidelity prototyping. In practice, you will work with a low-fidelity prototype, a high-fidelity prototype and a live-data prototype. A design team develops one or more prototypes – or visual representations of the design specifications. At the start of the project, the low-fidelity prototypes are there to check the suitability of the concept. Later on in the design process, the designers create high-fidelity prototypes to test the hypotheses. The live-data prototype is actually a part of the design code. It is a kind of flexible shell that is more interactive than traditional prototypes, and it uses live data.

Benefits of prototyping

Prototyping has many benefits. They make your innovation tangible, convincing and well-designed. In short, the benefits of prototyping include:

  • People get a clear impression of what your idea looks like in practice.
  • Prototyping provides a clear communication tool for convincing internal stakeholders.
  • User tests prove whether your idea meets a need.
  • By prototyping at an early stage, you get a richer and validated image of the solution you need to design.

Getting from idea to impact with the three P's

Prototyping is part of a design process in which you test the desirability, feasibility and viability of the final product. To this end, you use the three P's: Prototype, Proof of Concept (PoC) and Pilot.

1. Prototype - Desirability

The first P is about checking whether you’re designing the right product. Does it meet the needs and requirements of the user? You can test desirability in a small group, to reduce risks and expenses in the subsequent stages.

2. Proof of Concept - Feasibility

Your PoC will tell you whether the product or service is actually feasible. You learn whether you can link the various systems and have them work together in practice. In addition, you test performance with a predefined number of users.

3. Pilot - Viability

P number three involves the pilot stage, when your product goes to market. The number of users is still small, which creates the opportunity to learn and adjust your design, before you make it available for a larger audience.

Start prototyping

Although every day, still too many digital projects fail, more and more organisations understand what does and does not work when designing innovations. You can kick off your prototyping with a design sprint. Our design sprints last four days. In the first two days we help your team identify solutions for the main issues. During the next two days we develop a prototype, which we test with users. Sprints can be held in various scenario's. You can organise a sprint in the pre-product stage, when you have an existing product that needs adjustment or in any situation in-between. We operate as one team, with everyone working together – from developer to marketer to designer. Preferably, we combine operational and strategic expertise in the team. After all, an innovation is always the result of teamwork, with the shared goal as the dot on the horizon.

Fancy making impact together?

Are you thinking of developing a new product or improving an existing product or process? Our UX experts and software engineers can help you determine the focus and identify the challenge which sparks the development of a prototype ... and then, we set off together.

What is your situation?

Let's connect and explore how we'd make your initiative more successful. What describes your situation best?