Prototyping can jeopardize product development by providing entrepreneurs with key insights to build an app that customers will need and will buy.
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Prototyping is not a new concept for entrepreneurs. It plays an important role in every start-up phase, be it defining and testing product features, pre-selling an idea or presenting it to team members. It offers important product insights into design and functionality and makes product development a more efficient process.
On my startup trip, I found that rapid prototyping minimizes the development risk and speeds up the entire development process. Find out how you can use it to develop your startup app idea.
1. Start at the simplest level
The rapid prototyping approach has the underlying economic motivation to create functional models of the product in order to validate its design and functionality quickly and inexpensively. The process enables you to quickly develop multiple prototypes, gain new insights in each phase, and refine your prototype through iterations while successfully capturing the core functionality of your solution.
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Starting at the simplest level doesn't necessarily mean developing hand-drawn prototypes. Regardless of whether you are a technical founder or not, you can start with no-code tools to visualize the concept, and use readily available open source tools to develop wireframes with clarity of your product concept, content, and layout . You can use alternative design tools to develop product models without writing a single line of code.
2. Review your prototypes with future users
Entrepreneurs are known to be at risk. When it comes to building a startup, entrepreneurs believe that their product is a valid and workable solution to a problem that people need to solve. If you place a bet on the desired outcome of building a product that is used and paid for by users, would you use all your resources and efforts in a product launch? If things don't work out, you fail. But if you do, you can be ahead of the competition.
Data shows that most startups don't make it big the first time. Even those who do this will find months, if not years, of development, iteration, and linchpin if you look closely. Twitter is an example of a startup that emerged from a failed company.
If instead you were given the opportunity to place dozens of smaller bets where the failure of one bet doesn't significantly affect the overall system and where the next bet depends on the outcome of the previous one, your job as a start-up founder will be much easier since you will always learn and Support your decisions with current knowledge. In the worst case scenario, you fail quickly and cheaply instead of waiting months to learn the same thing. This enables rapid prototyping.
Related: 5 characters Your startup app idea is not yet ready for development
Once your first prototype is ready, interview through customer insights to understand how different aspects of your product work for them. This is an opportunity to validate your startup app idea and create a product in response to demand. You can also use these options to make it easier for your team to learn how your users want to interact with the product and which features and functions are essential for them. In other words, let the customer say what he wants.
3. Refine your prototype to higher fidelity
Add more depth and functionality to your prototype based on user reviews and develop a high fidelity version. This is an important phase of prototyping as it usually precedes the creation of your first product version. At this stage, your goal is to identify and then validate the features and functionality that must be in place for the user to successfully solve the problem with the product, and to eliminate those that do not seem essential or essential.
There are several inexpensive cloud-based tools available to accelerate the development of your high-fidelity prototype and to create an automated and integrated version of your app. If you are developing hardware solutions, you may be able to use 3D printing to create physical product components.
4. Repeat the process
The main goal of prototyping is to fail quickly and inexpensively to achieve better predictability of success. The process allows you to make small and quick mistakes that will help you build the next version of your prototype or product based on tested data.
Related: 5 reasons why your e-commerce shop needs a mobile app today
The idea is to keep the design, review, and refinement cycle fast, to quickly develop improved prototypes, and to effectively start developing a product that is used by people.