3 Essential Prototyping Factors You Need Take Into Consideration
The product manager is like the first runner in the delay race of prototyping. Once the direction is wrong at the beginning, it is very likely that the result won’t be too good-looking no matter how great the UI and development is. This is perhaps the major burden of a product manager, because you are followed by UI, development and testing teammates. If you are down on the essential prototyping factors, in most cases all of them will be dragged into the water.
Factor 1: Specifying the requirements
Who is supplying the requirements? Who do you serve?
To find out how to deal with the requirements, you need to firstly figure identify these two characters.
There are a bunch of requirements suppliers, for instance, your boss, colleagues, marketers, customer service and even yourself.
Different characters tend to consider and put forward requirements in based on their own perspectives. If you really want to fulfill a requirements, you should have yourself standing in the same angle with the specific requirement supplier. If not, your solution may fail to hit the target.
The targets also vary a lot from industry to industry.
For insiders, the operation logic and efficiency should be listed as priorities. The right control is of great importance as well if necessary. Note that the UI is not a key point.
For customers, the operation flow, user experience and the information feedback are all cardinal.
For someone in the financial industry, you need to think about how to build the feeling of security and how to control the risk.
Having an idea about the urgency
Make sure you know the timeline and the urgency before you really take over. Don’t take function development as your own business. If you designed a super-complex function with a squeezing schedule, the development team and the testing team won’t be happy about that.
Function design is about so many key links including prototyping factors, UI design, front-end and back-end development, user research and testing. Except for front-end and back-end development, almost all the links are linear. Mistakes in any one of the links may cause the delay of the whole project.
So you have to have a rough anticipation of the resources and risks at the early stage of the project. It will be a dilemma when everybody works overtime and eventually fail to get it done on time. This type of mistakes will not only waste your time but also undermine your authority in front of your team.
So what should you do?
I guess that everybody calls you a “PM” but not a “prototype drawer”. This is the point. A PM is a problem solver but not just who draws the prototype and pass the requirements. Function design and prototypes are just ways of fulfilling the requirements.
Factor 2: Process design
It seems like a common sense that we should make a plan of the process before thinking about any prototyping factors. I’m not going to repeat the cliche here. Let’s see the advantage of doing this:
1. dismantling the requirements and sorting your ideas.
When you stumble a new requirement, what do you do? You figure out the process by using a mind-map. You comb the process by dismantling the requirements step by step. When the dismantlement is done, your thought will be clear with even half of the plan of the prototype design.
2. Optimizing the process and avoiding reworking.
The first thoughts usually is not the best thoughts which is formed after consideration and test over times. Make prototype without the best thoughts is nothing but idle work. So you better use the early stage to think rather than do.
3. Being frank.
There are a lot of prototyping tools today. In the choice of low-fi or hi-fi tool, I recommend the former. Prototypes with clear wireframes and clean interaction are far more understandable than those real-product-like ones.
Factor 3: Prototyping tools
I used Axure before, but now I am using Mockplus. I remember someone once asked me how to make a image carousel in Axure. I answered him with one question, ”Who do you make this prototype for?” In my perspective, a clean image carousel in Mockplus marked with frequency and direction is clearer than thousand of tantalizing interactions. The goal of a PM should be transmitting information but not beauty.
Original site: woshipm
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