Prototyping Evolution has changed drastically over the past couple of decades, from paper to pixel and everything in between. Paper prototypes were once the standard way of testing an idea before moving on to more expensive and time-consuming methods like wireframes and mockups. Now, however, it’s so much easier and cheaper to test your product idea through digital prototypes that many designers skip the paper phase altogether. Not only does digital prototyping save time and money, but it also results in a much more realistic representation of what your end product will look like—with interactive features, no less!
The Prototyping Evolution: From Paper to Pixel
- Round 1 – paper prototyping
- Round 2 – low fidelity wireframes/mockups in software
- Round 3 – high fidelity mockups in software
- Round 4 – detailed app development in software
- Final App Launch, Marketing & Monetization
Round 1 – paper prototyping
In the beginning, there was paper. And it was good. But then something happened that changed everything: we got computers. Now, instead of sketching out our ideas on paper, we can create digital prototypes that look and feel just like the real thing. When we design a website, for example, we’ll start by mocking up a wireframe in software. The wireframe is usually simple — usually just boxes with placeholder text — but it gets us thinking about how users will move through the site and what their experience will be like.
We might make an even simpler version of this wireframe called a lo-fi prototype, which is literally made out of stickies and other random office supplies stuck to a poster board or taped onto a computer screen (see below). These two prototypes give us insight into how users interact with our designs without investing too much time or money in development.
After all, who wants to build something if no one will use it? Mockups are usually done using basic shapes and colors so they don’t take a lot of time to create. They’re used mostly for websites and apps because you need some graphic representation when discussing screens and interface elements.
A lo-fi prototype is different from a mockup because it’s not pixel perfect; the goal here is speed, not accuracy. It’s important to know the difference between a mockup and a lo-fi prototype because they serve different purposes. Mocking up your idea can help get feedback early on
while creating a lo-fi prototype is more useful as part of user testing sessions where you’re showing people how your product works without giving them access to your product itself. It also helps get feedback on whether your target audience actually understands what you want them to do. If they click on the register but end up logging out, maybe that needs work before you invest in building an app!
Round 2 – low fidelity wireframes/mockups in software
In the second round of prototyping, you’ll take your sketches and turn them into low-fidelity wireframes or mockups. This is where you’ll start to think about how your app will look and function. You’ll use a software program like Balsamiq, Photoshop, or Sketch to create these wireframes. The goal is to get a basic understanding of how your app will work and what it will look like.
High-fidelity prototypes (five sentences): In the third round of prototyping, you’ll create high-fidelity prototypes. This is where you’ll really start to see your app come to life. You’ll use a software program like InVision or Marvel to create these prototypes. They are usually an interactive design that includes clickable buttons and other features that can give you a better idea of how your app will actually function.
Round 3 – high fidelity mockups in software
After you’ve made it through rounds one and two of the prototyping process, it’s time for round three: high fidelity mockups in software. This is where you’ll take your static paper or low-fidelity digital prototypes and turn them into interactive, clickable prototypes that look and feel like the real thing. You might use a tool like Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, or InDesign to create these screens; however, if you don’t have design skills you can use tools such as Balsamiq Mockups or Axure RP Pro to do this instead.
The goal of round three is to make your prototype more realistic so that stakeholders are more likely to understand what they’re going to see when they use the final product. Remember, too much detail will bog down development while not enough detail could leave stakeholders unclear about what they’re looking at – so find a balance between the two.
Round 4 – detailed app development in software
After you’ve identified the key features and functions of your app, it’s time to start developing a detailed prototype. This is where you’ll start fleshing out the user interface and experience, and start thinking about how the app will actually work. You’ll also want to get feedback from users on what they would like in the app so that you can refine the development process as much as possible before going into production. It’s very important to note that while this is an important step in the prototyping evolution, it doesn’t represent the final product. In order for your app to be polished and ready for launch, you’ll need additional design and development stages after this stage. These include testing, debugging, QA, optimization, localization, and more.
So why should you bother with prototypes? Because no matter what stage of app development you’re at or what your level of expertise may be – paper sketches can help ensure that all major functionalities are accounted for in the end product. Plus when it comes to designing mobile apps – getting early input from prospective users can make all the difference!
Final App Launch, Marketing & Monetization
It’s been a long journey, but you’ve finally made it to the end. The app is complete and ready to be launched into the world. But before you do, there are a few final steps to take care of. First, you need to create a marketing plan. This will help you get the word out about your app and attract users. Next, you need to think about how you’re going to monetize your app. There are a few options here, so be sure to do your research. Finally, launch your app and start promoting it! You’ll want to use both social media and advertising channels to reach as many people as possible. Take advantage of in-app purchases and freemium features for your app as well. You can also reach out to other influencers who may be interested in what you have created, or even collaborate with them on an update. Keep up the hard work and remember that patience pays off
The first thing you should do is create a marketing plan. If you’re new to marketing, then it can be overwhelming trying to figure out where to start. But don’t worry – with just a bit of work, you’ll have a solid plan in place in no time. Remember that advertising and promotion are two separate things, so it’s important that you focus on each separately when thinking about your strategy. Then, think about what types of channels you want to use for your campaign – paid or free options can both be effective depending on your goals. Finally, remember that great content is key if you want anyone interested in what you have created.