Successful Digital Experiences Begin with Prototypes
We have incredibly talented designers here at Station Four, but a good user experience doesn’t simply materialize just like that. It’s the result of hours iteratively developing and refining your design, from the conceptualization stage all the way through final delivery. Ideally performed in conjunction with user testing, prototyping moves beyond merely assessing different mockups or wireframes, and provides a degree of interactivity that illustrates to users how your final product will actually perform.
A Prototype is Not a Final Product, But It’s How You Get to One
A prototype is a simulation. It’s an interactive mock-up, typically with a lower degree of fidelity than the final product. It enables us to test whether or not the flow of your product is smooth and consistent. They breathe life into the design and the product, and provide insight into how users are interacting with it at each level. Most importantly, they allow us to test the feasibility and usability of a design before a single line of code is written.
Good UX Requires Prototyping
Prototyping is an integral component of the user experience design process. There are lots of tools available on the market, and several methodologies. The simplest can be little more than a series of hand-drawn paper prototypes, supplemented by sticky notes, index cards, and a writing implement. While this is the quickest-and-dirtiest means of prototyping, it’s efficient, inexpensive, and can effectively capture and simulate the flow and feel of the product. However, paper prototypes don’t recreate the “clickability” of a platform based interactive prototype. While these take longer to build, they create a more authentic feel and accurately illustrate the circumstances under which a user will interact with your product.
The tools you use depend on what stage your product is at, budget available, and what your goals are for the project. What should remain the same is that this important step in the design process is fully undertaken.