Creating a product prototype is integral to an agile development methodology these days. As an IT-industry expands, the competition increases exponentially. Such a trend introduces the need to keep your project the most cost-efficient possible. This is where product development prototyping comes in handy.
Myriads of startup ideas appear in the market sector every year. However, only a handful of them reaches the top. Prototyping and modelmaking for product design is a way to find out whether your idea is destined to be among those.
With that said, let’s discover the product prototyping peculiarities and find out how you can benefit from prototyping techniques.
Product Design Prototyping: Why Prototype Your Product
The product prototype brings substantial edges over your rivals:
- Idea validation;
- Time to market.
To understand the value these advantages bring to your development cycle, let’s consider each one in detail.
Idea Validation: Understand The Idea Relevance
You can never say for sure whether your project is going to skyrocket or won’t stand a chance. Here at Gravum, we know how painful it can be to find out that your idea is worth nothing. Nonetheless, you should understand that it is 100% ok to fail. However, it is not ok to not even try.
Read our article about software development success stories
This is why product prototyping is often a lifeline for agile development companies looking for ways to validate their ideas, and here’s why:
- It is fast. Product prototype takes significantly less time to develop;
- It is cheap. The raw version of a product often requires less than a tenth of the project budget.
Cost-Effectiveness: Cut Your Development Expenses
As for project cost-effectiveness, consider this: failed product ideas that took the whole budget to develop are the mistakes worth your whole budget. The product prototypes – at the same time – cost manifold less.
To understand the prototype benefits, here are the possible outcomes of your product prototype development:
- Your idea fails. You immediately stop losing money on the wasteful project;
- You validate the idea and gain interest from the community. You continue developing your masterpiece with the ready-made core of your future app.
As you can see, you profit in both outcomes. The first one lets you deprecate an unsuccessful idea and stop wasting resources early. The second one gives you an enormous advantage over your competitors: the confidence that the market is interested in your idea.
Time To Market: Be The First, Be The Best
No matter how fascinating your idea is, your rivals can simply beat you to the market with a similar concept. And as the industry gets more new talents, the greater the chance some of them will outrun you.
Product development prototyping addresses the issue of time to market. It lets you jump into gathering crucial user-related data right away.
Prototyping And Modelmaking For Product Design: 3 Tips On Pro Agile Idea Validation
Now that we understand the vital importance of creating product prototypes for the agile development cycle, let’s discover 3 things you should know to create a truly efficient and relevant product prototype.
1. Focus On Core Functionality: Trim The Fat
One of the most common mistakes developers make is developing a whole product instead of a prototype. In other words, people tend to commit too much to their demo version of an app. This way, the prototype turns into a product itself, and the whole concept of idea validation becomes pointless.
Here are the steps to keep your focus on the software product’s core:
- Determine the vital functionality. Discover features that make your idea outstanding, that distinguish it from the other ones;
- Remove all enhancements. Here’s an example: this visual element refines the app. That is just fine, however, we’ll skip it in the prototype phase;
- Keep the prototype lean. Exclude all external integrations and modules that play a complementary role.
2. Do Not Hesitate: Launch Early
Eric Ries – the founding father of the Minimum Viable Product concept – claims that it is too late to go with a prototype if it already satisfies you. What he means is a true minimum version of your app cannot look completed. With that said, do not get confused by the raw view of your product design prototype, because it is the whole idea of an early launch.
3. Realize Product Prototype Potential
Now, you’ve successfully launched a lean prototype of your software product. What’s next? It is the most substantial stage, as you start collecting user data – feedback, geolocation, behavioral patterns – and use it to refine your application concept.
Here’s the kicker: you will be receiving diverse feedback. This includes both positive and negative reviews. Do not let the negativity frustrate you. Consider these points when analyzing user data:
- Positive feedback is a sign that you succeed. Pay attention to the aspects of your software that people enjoy and focus on moving them to the foreground;
- Negative feedback tells you there is room for improvement. Just because people don’t like the feature doesn’t mean you cannot fix it;
- No reaction is the worst one. No matter what kind of reaction you get – you are making progress. No reaction at all means people don’t care about your product and – therefore – are not very keen on it.
The Bottom Line
Product design prototyping techniques are efficient when you need to validate your idea and test out the software product concept. Keep it lean, launch early, and use the user data it gathers for you to understand the app concept relevance and discover users’ most and least favorite features.
If you look for professional product prototyping services, contact Gravum development experts. We have built numerous MVPs and know how to make the most of your product prototype.