What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Prototyping
Prototyping is the most important process of product development. It directly determines the direction of the entire software. I believe that no companies will release a product without prototype design. This article will give your full understanding about what is prototype design? What are the types of prototyping? what are the advantages and disadvantages of prototyping? At last, I will introduce some useful prototyping tools to help you design an excellent product.
1. Definition of prototyping
Prototyping refers to the early stage of software development, the core of prototyping is to test the product and usually used for demonstration, testing, communication and so on.
2. Stages of prototyping
Low fidelity prototype
To performance the key functions of the software and the basic interaction process, what’s more, it’s easy to modify, fast to prototype and the production costs are lower than other prototypes.
Medium fidelity prototype
Medium fidelity prototype adds more details and the interaction is closer to the final product. In most cases, medium fidelity prototype is enough for the user to fully experience the final product, you can test the usability of the product and ensure that the major problems can’t be found in the following development process.
High fidelity prototype
It’s the prototype that most close to the final product. rich in detail, including all the features of the product and interaction. Making high-fidelity prototypes can significantly reduce communication costs. And prototyping is more accurate and exquisite. However, the high fidelity means that you need to spend more time and development effort, and it will be more time-consuming when you need to make some adjustments.
3. Advantages of the prototyping:
users can really feel the product
Test the usability of the product to find problems
Easy to communicate with users, leaders and other relevant people
Improve the efficiency of product design
4. Disadvantages of the prototyping:
Time-consuming with great expense, especially when you in the tight budget.
Prototype design may constrain the designer's ideas, the more you design, the smaller space available to the designer. It may decrease the designer's enthusiasm. If you don’t require much design capability, you can’t design high fidelity prototype.
If the designer's knowledge is limited, it may not be possible to estimate the difficulty degree of implementation and will cause unlimited development time.
5. Prototyping tools
Low fidelity prototyping tools: pen and paper, Balsamiq Mockups
Pen and paper prototype is the fastest way to produce the prototype and it's used in the early stage of prototyping. As long as the designer hands of a pen and paper or whiteboard, they can simply draw the ideas and thoughts. But the pen and paper prototype is a very low fidelity prototype. It only suitable for internal discussion at the beginning of the project, the functionality has been determined or the wireframe has not yet been officially started. It’s not suitable for presentation and testing because the users operate feeling and habits are completely different between the paper prototype and the electronic product.
Balsamiq Mockups is a hand-painted prototype drawing tool that focuses on sketches. It really caught the point of the prototype design and balance. It is based on Adobe Air, can be smooth run in different browsers, different operating system platform, used online or offline and complete a project efficiently. It Also can be successfully installed on Windows 7, FreeBSD, Ubuntu OS.
Medium fidelity prototyping tools: Axure, Mockplus.
Axure is a well-know prototyping tool in the design industry. With full-featured, flow chart and dynamic panels are all favoring by many product managers and designers. But the learning curving is higher than other design tools. I would not recommend it to the newbies. Mockplus is a rising star in the design indusrty, with 3000 icons and 200 components to design faster and smarter prototype. It's easy for the new designers.
High-fidelity prototyping tools: Justinmind, Adobe XD
Jusinmind is a great prototyping tool for mobile APP design, comprehensive interaction design with a huge UI library. Adobe XD is a lightweight vector + prototyping software. It includes diagram design, visual design, interactive design, prototyping and other functions in one. Many people say that the rise of Adobe XD will end of the Sketch and Photoshop, I think it’s too early to say that. XD still has a long way to go because it still not functional than other matured prototyping tools. The reason why the Adobe XD exist is that the Adobe need a rapid prototyping tool to complete their system, AI has been left behind in this area.
There are many unexpected problems occurred in the development process, even if you have revised for several times. Prototyping test will at least let the development team knows where are the problems and have the opportunity to improve it before released the product public. I bet you have a full understanding of what are the advantages and disadvantages of prototyping now. If you have any questions about it. please do leave a comment in the below area.