A prototype is seen as a crucial part of creating a new website or mobile app. It simulates some of the main aspects of the final product, allowing the designer/developer to get an initial idea off the paper and consider many different aspects of the design and its implementation.
Test the Design
A good design can take several iterations. However, these iterations become much easier if the major issues are removed at the start. This is where prototyping comes in. Users, developers and designers can all go through the UX flow and design and give feedback. In particular, it’s possible to find any serious omissions and get them added or remove andy needless parts. Testing an actual version is hugely different to looking at something on paper.
With a well created design, the actual development stage of production becomes much simpler. Developers have something to work and build off, decreasing the chance of big issues in the future reduces the development times as well as cost. It’s been said that changes to a software development project cost exponentially more to implement the later they are detected.
Showing the end user a version of the product will allow them to give more detailed and complete feedback, and as a user will know the domain in which the product will run, increased cooperation early is likely to improve the end product.
Also, a well-known problem in development is communication between technical and non-technical people. Having an object in front of you will help remove any misunderstandings that could have occurred in the earlier stages of design.
Selling the Product
If you are looking to get investors in on a project, having a prototype will give them a much better understanding of exactly what your idea entails, as well as showing that you are committed to your project. If you turn up to an investor with just a concept, you’d need to have a unique understanding of the business area you’re looking into(normally through contacts or experience), or almost irreplaceable skills.
Determining future Costs and Timeframes
In almost all software development projects you’re likely to come across areas that take slightly longer than expected and others that are quicker than you had thought. Having a more detailed understanding of the development phase, will allow a chance to work out where these parts are and then give more accurate quotes.
While prototyping is clearly a good idea, there are cases where it’s much more worthwhile than others. If you’re committed to a large project and the app will have a lot of user interaction, it’s generally worth a prototype. If it’s a simple app or the UX isn’t so important, we’d suggest just developing straight away and getting the project completed.