An individual’s ability to convert the basic and usually intangible specifications into a tangible yet, limited functioning model of the final product or system is known as his prototyping skills.
The demo or model that is provided as a result of prototyping skills is merely a prompt approximation of what the final product or system would look like. Therefore, prototyping skills certainly include the ability to test the model or demo and then rework and modify it according to user feedback until a satisfactory prototype is developed such that the complete system or product can easily be developed from it. Therefore, prototyping is unavoidably an iterative process.
Why is prototyping important
Prototyping is extremely crucial factor in the design process of any product or system for any company. Following are some of the major reasons:
- Design assessment made easier. Ideas and designs have no way of being evaluated and tested unless you have a working model to hold and test in the real world. Prototyping helps you evaluate and test your design and its functionality in order to be sure it does what it is supposed to do.
- Cost and issues of production are clarified. Since prototyping is an iterative process, it enables the identification as well as resolution of any issues and problems relevant to production. Not only does it eliminate all ambiguities and obstacles early on but it also helps in the estimation of all skills, time, development costs, and other resource requirements.
How to improve prototyping skills
It requires a certain mindset for the improvement of the ever-important prototyping skills. Following are some helpful tips to develop that sort of mindset:
- Be dirty but quick. The primary factor for bringing about an improvement in one’s prototyping skills is to ensure that you resist your tendency and urge to improve and make things perfect before testing them. When it comes to prototypes, always remember that they are made to be churned out one after another as soon as they get tested with users to receive feedback. If you waste too much time in making it perfect before testing it, not only will you be wasting time (because it will be perfect to you only!) but you are also likely to resist making amendments.
- Failure should be celebrated. We are all hard-wired to avoid failure at any cost but that needs to be changed if you wish to improve your prototyping skills. in prototyping, you need to actively seek out failures, along with honest feedback of course, because they eventually lead to learning and innovation. Failure ensures that the next version is improved and the sooner you fail; the lesser costly are the changes.
- Use your hands for thinking. Whenever your energy travels from your head to your hand, the idea tends to improve. Always begin the prototyping process with this thought in mind and cobble together a model with whatever you have at hand. It doesn’t need to look finished or pretty, and can totally have those rough edges. The only purpose is to bring to the surface and resolve all differences in assumptions and interpretations, or any potential misunderstanding.