Prototype

Alexey Hermann
2018 Febuary 412:53 PM

Heroes

Has it ever occured to you that you see a familiar word but it feels like it has a different meaning in certain cases?

Why Do I Need to Know That?

Not knowing this term can lead to misunderstandings when communicating with a development team you may lose time and also appear ignorant.

This information is no secret to anyone, but for some reason it is usually learned from a word of mouth. Let's save you time figuring it out.

According to Quora these days, at least 1000 apps are submitted per day and all of them went through the prototyping stage.

What it is.

Meaning 1

  1. Have you got the prototype ready?
  2. Yes. We will send you the link to “invision”.

In this dialogue a person is talking about prototype that is basically pictures of your app's interface with buttons. You can hear both versions «Prototype» and «Clickable Prototype». The second one allows to go from one screen to another when buttons are clicked to demonstrate user flows.

Invision means the popular online service Invision. It is often used by UX Designers to make prototype and share it by copying a link. There are many more other services similar to InVision: Marvel, Webflow, Proto.io, Justinmind, Origami Studio

InVision is just one of the most popular prototyping tools around.

How Long?

No coding involved, just drawing in one of mentioned above applications. It should take very few additional hours on top of design work. If your designer says you need to pay him double for the prototype of what you already have as the design then it’s a lie.

Meaning 2

  1. Have you got the prototype ready?
  2. Yes we are testing it now, it's a little buggy, but we're getting there.

In this dialogue a prototype refers to a very basic version of your app that hardly works. It should never see the world at this stage. It is only for internal use on the production site or among close friends, showing it to strangers is like leaving your house without doing your buttons up – pointless, rude and socially unacceptable.

How Long?

Coding is involved. Depending on the complexity of an app a prototype in this meaning would take considerably more time than the design + actual design. In reality even more.

What it can Be Confused With.

Confusion 1

It can be confused with an MVP (Minimum Viable Product). MVP is needed to roll out the product on the market and start getting the first feedback from users. So in order to cut costs the product owners would limit themselves only to the most important functionality when building an MVP, which is a wise thing to do, but unlike prototype it works properly and has no bugs. An app can be so simple no functionality will be added after the MVP is released.

Confusion 2

It can also be confused with a mockup. Mockup is just an image. It would not show animations of transitioning between pages for example. Buttons cannot be clicked. No movement whatsoever.

Why Prototype is Important.

  1. Shareholders can get the taste of your application so that you can justify the funding.
  2. Frontend Developers will look at the invision like prototype and implement it in a form of code. Also there are pictures, icons that make a front end developer's life much easier. However a mockup would do just as fine guiding a developer.
  3. Usability Testing. Testing your app at this stage of development allows to avoid mistakes and spot bugs very early. It’s like making corrections in a plan of a building instead of rebuilding an actual house after it has already been built.
  4. Quick Market Validation. The idea can be assessed and compared to existing competitors.
  5. A lot of ideas can come to you because a prototype is the working model of the end product and it feels like a real application.

How to Save on This/When can I Avoid This Step?

Most development agencies and design studios will offer you entire spectrum of their services.

If your app is more than just a registration form – you should start with a clickable prototype.

So a prototype can mean  —  set of images made in an Invision like online service that allows users to click buttons and go from one screen of an app to another OR a roughly working version of your app, that is not for the end-customer.

When you need a Clickable Prototype contact us for free consultation at Keenethics.com

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