We will tell you about one of the most important stages in the development of a mobile application, which in no case should be skipped.
What is mobile app prototyping? Why is this needed and what are the benefits? How many resources do you need to spend on developing a prototype application and how long will it take?
Let’s speak about one of the most important stages in the development of a mobile application, which in no case should be skipped.
What is a Mobile App Prototype?
In short, a prototype is a visualization of the model of the future product. A mobile app prototype is a fast and cost-effective way to test a hypothesis.
There is a whole industry of programming for creating applications for mobile phones. And a modern prototype allows you to see all parts of the future UI in action. At the same time, we are talking not just about the development and software implementation, but about design, user experience and interface.
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How is Developing Mobile App Prototyping Works for Your Startup
There are more than 5 billion mobile phone users in the world, thousands of mobile applications are created daily in the world, the market has a good competitive environment. A business that plans to launch another mobile application to the global market, already at the start of the project, they must think about the user if he wants to increase the likelihood of success of his product and speed up its release.
The value of user experience (UX) design cannot be overestimated, which is why even the development of an MVP of a mobile application begins with the creation of its prototype. An interactive prototype is the most common choice in this situation.
Such a prototype is called sometimes an interactive wireframe or mockup (as interactive prototypes or clickable wireframes/mockups). Mockup is a user-interactive prototype that contains the main parts of the application, controls that allow navigation, displaying content (fake data).
What is it for? By creating a mobile application layout, you can avoid many common mistakes, identify functionality flaws, determine the correctness of the application structure, find erroneous functions and miscalculations in logic and concept. In addition, the prototype avoids misunderstandings between the client and the developer, as well as between specialists within the development team (project manager, designer, developer). What’s more, prototyping an application allows early use of the focus group and getting comments and suggestions from future users at a very early stage. This allows you not to redo the application in the future, and sometimes save several times the budget of the entire development.
Main Features of Mobile App Prototyping
As we have already found out, prototyping is one of the most important stages when creating a mobile application, if a company wants its startup to be successful and the development cost reasonable money.
There are a few things to keep in mind when designing a mobile app layout.
Very often we have not yet had a technical task at the first stage. The fact is that the client does not always know in detail what he wants to receive. Especially when it comes to the original Startup, which has no analogues on the market. Therefore, an interactive prototype is really needed in order to get ideas about the product, and to determine whether the developer has correctly understood the idea of the client.
Any misunderstanding, rethinking of an idea, an unsuccessful decision at the MVP prototyping stage and not already in the process of developing the main product can save hundreds of thousands and even millions of dollars or even the life of the entire project. In the case when we create a prototype, already at the very early stage of development, we can correct our decision in time, or make sure that everything planned is implemented correctly and has positive feedback from the focus group of future users.
There are several classifications of prototyping. Prototypes are usually divided into three types:
The conceptual prototype is a schematic representation of the screens. It is well suited for a quick sketch because it allows the designer to do it in minutes with just a notepad, whiteboard, or Photoshop.
An interactive prototype is assembled from several screens, the ability to switch between screens is implemented. We can say that in order to create an interactive prototype, you first need to create a conceptual prototype.
Such a layout is more attractive for everyone: the clients, the investor, the potential user. “A picture is worth a thousand words” as William Shakespeare said. This form of prototyping allows you to interact with the idea just a few days after setting the task.
An animated prototype is the most advanced prototyping option. A UX designer visualizes the user’s interaction with the application, thereby almost completely simulating the work of the application being created
Creating an animated prototype does not always make sense. Such a task is quite time-consuming, requires the involvement of serious resources and takes a lot of time. We do not recommend that startups create an animated prototype when creating an MVP. It often makes sense to not waste time and direct funds to more important tasks in order for a startup to take off.
But for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), when creating a mobile application for their already running services, this modeling method is ideal – at the end, the client will definitely get exactly what he planned. The difference is that a business does not need to worry about whether the service will find demand from the end user in order to invest in an idea that may not take off. For business such a question is no longer an issue.
In mobile development, there are also such types of prototyping as:
✔️ Paper prototypes;
✔️ Low fidelity prototypes (Lo-Fi);
✔️ High precision prototypes (Hi-Fi).
Everything is clear with paper prototypes. And what are Lo-Fi and Hi-Fi prototypes?
Low-Fidelity Prototype is the prototype of the main features of the application. For example, we developed such a prototype when creating an MVP for people with diabetes. Sketches, their storyboard and sorting are the Lo-Fi prototype.
The advantage of creating such a prototype is obvious:
✔️ High speed;
✔️ Minimal waste of resources;
✔️ Instant adjustments.
High-Fidelity Prototypes look and work just like the final product. In fact, this is a visualization of the final product, an animated prototype.
The main advantage of this type of prototyping is that the client will receive exactly the product that was agreed upon and fixed through the creation of a Hi-Fi prototype at the earliest stage of development of a mobile application.
5 Benefits of Mobile App Prototyping
Here are a few advantages of mobile app prototyping for startups and SMEs. We have identified five main advantages of a mobile app prototype.
It is much cheaper to solve a problem before the development starts than already in the process. In the long term, the development of a prototype may not allow you to inflate your budget several times over. And this is not an exaggeration! Planning mistakes in programming are very costly.
Tens of thousands of applications are released to the market every year, but only a few of them are in demand. Creating a successful mobile app is not easy. That is why it is very important to work with a potential user at an early stage in order to study and improve the usability of the application and user experience.
Prototyping allows to avoid misunderstandings between all participants from the client to the programmer. In addition, the visualization of the final product simplifies the work of both the project manager and the developer. And a client will understand exactly what final product will be received.
Involvement of The Client, Investors, Future Users
Creating a prototype allows the developer to get feedback from the client, and helps the client in finding new investors. It also allows the marketing department to work on attracting an audience and attention to the product at an early stage. It’s much easier to convince people to put their money into an app if you can show them what it will look like and how it will work than drawing pictures in the air and reading the spec sheet.
A small investment in the creation of a prototype opens up great opportunities for the client in a number of areas at once.
The advantages of prototyping for a mobile application are great and obvious. And the disadvantages are insignificant. That it does not even make sense to discuss them. Must have.
Allows You to Test Ideas, Make Improvements, Identify Shortcomings at an Early Stage
With mobile app prototyping, you can test new ideas, improve design, functionality, UX and UI to create a solid foundation for future success. At this stage, it is cheaper and easier to make changes and adjustments, correct errors and misconceptions.
A prototype is the basis of a mobile application, which is improved until the product meets the set business goals. The importance of mobile app prototyping cannot be overestimated.
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There is a good rule of thumb: you only need to prototype what needs to be tested. A good developer does not inflate the budget. He does only the things which is necessary for hypothesis’ testing, understanding the idea and the requirements of the client. Otherwise, there may not be enough resources to prepare the final working solution. Remember, that the development of a prototype is not a finished product. It is only a sketch of it.
Fideware specializes and has extensive experience in developing both mobile applications in general and working directly with startups. This allows us to quickly and competently pick up the client’s idea and implement it in the shortest way.
The process of developing a mobile application should not replace other necessary processes for launching a startup. The founder must deal with marketing, promoting the product, working with the focus group and developing his idea. Fideware takes on all product development tasks and always coordinate details at each stage with the client.
Contact us and we will tell you all the benefits of prototyping for mobile app development.
Mobile app is a big challenge for companies that are new to the IT world. High rates and the level of uncertainty carry high risks of both significant budget overruns and disappointment in the final product.
It is in order to avoid such problems that a prototype is created first, and then the MVP of the mobile application.
It is important to remember that a prototype is not a complete solution or even not an MVP.It is created without the participation of a programmer. In fact, the prototype consists of dummies, a set of screens with which you can get a visual concept, a correct understanding of the client’s idea and a response from the target audience.
An interactive prototype or layout allows you to look at the product from the outside at a very early stage of development. At the same time it does not carry any risk of extra investments, helps to estimate the cost of the project, promotes mutual understanding of all project participants, attracts the attention of investors and potentially saves a lot of time and money.
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At the moment, there are many development environments for designers that allow you to create an interactive prototype without programming skills. Therefore, we are definitely not talking about weeks of work and hundreds of hours of paid time. The creating process an interactive prototype takes quite a bit more time than simply drawing it. So, the cost of such development will not differ from sketching on paper significantly.
Use prototyping to solve your challenges. For example:
✔️ Identification and clarification of the needs of the target audience with the help of focus groups;
✔️ Finding “pressure points” ideas to cope with them at an early stage;
✔️ Attracting investors;
✔️ Attracting the attention of the audience, etc.
The idea in a person’s head is quite blurry and often has fuzzy outlines. To formulate this idea is not so easy. To explain it to another is even more difficult. Interactive prototyping solves this problem by visualizing your idea.
In addition, it opens up new perspectives when working with investors. As we wrote above, “A picture is worth a thousand words “. And it works!