What do prototypes do prototypes
6 reasons why prototypes are important in product development
1. Gain clarity about your project
If you don't know exactly where you want to go, it will be difficult to get to where you actually want to go. A prototype can help you become aware of technical difficulties and identify them in advance and circumnavigate them. It also makes sense to create a rough plan in order to arrive at a sensible customer journey in the end.
Find out what is in demand in your market and take a close look at your competitors and define the most important functions in the prototype. Your app should meet the needs of your customers and have at least one essential characteristic that ensures that your product differs significantly from that of your competitors. This unique feature ensures that the customer will decide for you in the end!
The prototype is used to refine and crystallize your idea. It is the result of various preliminary considerations and something that you can present to your employees so that they can see your vision in front of their eyes and do not start to work haphazardly on something that you may have imagined differently.
2. Checking your idea on the real market
If you want to raise funds for your project, it is important that you have more than one thought to show. If you have a prototype, you can test it out on the market. The investors get a rough idea of what you have in mind and can therefore get involved better with your idea. But more on that later.
After you have already tested your prototype, you can also better assess the market value. You will receive any feedback and, on the basis of this feedback, you can better estimate how many people will ultimately decide in favor of your solution.
Accordingly, it could happen at this point that it turns out that there is no need. If that is the case, you have to admit it and stop the development. You may have lost time and money, but this loss is in no relation to the loss you would have suffered if you had driven the entire development further.
3. The prototype helps you save money
It is very clear that app development, for example, is expensive. But it doesn't have to be more expensive than it already is. Therefore, you should use a prototype. This shows you the weak points at an early stage and prevents you from having to iron them out at the end. Correcting mistakes afterwards always means double work and chain effects can arise, which mean that you have to redo whole parts of the app. That would be very annoying.
With the help of the "advance version" you can react to bugs before they appear in the actual app.
4. You can keep people on your app
Studies have shown that around 20 percent of people who download an app only open it once. This is of course a shame and you should prevent that, because only active users are really worth something. With a prototype, you can research user behavior in advance and then use this knowledge to make adjustments that ultimately lead to people sticking to your app.
Without a prototype, you would have to bring your app to market and then react immediately to any "errors". But you or your team can't be that fast and the more perfect the product is, what the customer gets in the hand, the better. Overall, this gives you the opportunity to improve the user experience while using it.
5. Get more investors
It cannot be said often enough. If you raise money and, for example, speak to investors, they will hardly want to buy into a vague idea. So it is not only important that the company knows what you want internally, but also that external parties can experience your idea.
Such a prototype will help you to convince the investors by allowing them to test the app interactively and get an idea of the way it is used, the risks and - most importantly - the potential profit.
Upgrade the prototype to improve the result
If you improve something on your prototype, your end product will automatically be better. The changes to the model are often much easier to make and, accordingly, more price-efficient. At this stage of development, you can easily revise your concept in many points without affecting what has already been done. It is a time when you refine your idea - see point 1.
But it's also the time to iron out the mistakes that have already occurred. Carefully monitor user behavior and see where errors occur. You should be focused on delivering the most perfect end result possible. More than ten percent of users said that they would only delete apps because they weren't working properly.
Conclusion: the prototype as a miracle weapon?
In fact, a successful and mature prototype is an indicator that it will go well or that the actual development of the product is relatively uncomplicated. Of course, that's never a guarantee, but experience has shown that projects that have worked with prototypes perform significantly better than those that have not. Therefore, you should also work with prototypes or wire frames in order to save yourself time, money and effort!
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