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What is a Digital Prototype?
Digital prototyping is an important part of the digital product design process. When talking about digital products, it is like making a draft version of an app or website before launching it fully. Imagine you want to create a new mobile app. Instead of making it go live right away, you first design and test a draft version on a computer or mobile device.
This draft lets you see how the app looks, how it functions, and if there are any glitches or issues. You can easily make changes and improvements without affecting real users.
This allows you to visualize and test your ideas in a setting that mimics the real thing, without fully building it out. By doing this, you can see how the product feels, identify any issues, and make improvements. It's a step that ensures the end product is not only functional but also user-friendly.
Essentially, digital prototyping helps bridge the gap between an initial idea and the final product, ensuring that the design is refined, effective, and aligned with user needs.
Once you're satisfied with the draft, you can proceed with the digital product design and launch the real app for everyone to use.
What is Digital Product Design About?
Digital product design is all about making digital things, like apps, websites, or software, that people use on their phones, computers, or other devices. The main goal is to ensure these digital items work smoothly and are simple for users to understand and navigate.
The aim of a digital product design is look good, feel intuitive, and meet the needs of the users, making their digital experiences enjoyable and hassle-free.
6 Reasons You Need a Digital Prototype
- Rapid Ideation and Innovation: Digital prototyping allows businesses to quickly visualize and test new ideas, concepts, or features. This rapid iteration enables teams to innovate at a faster pace, as they can immediately see the potential impact and usability of their ideas without full-scale development.
- Cost-Efficiency: Developing a full-blown digital product or feature can be expensive. By using digital prototypes, businesses can identify potential issues or areas of improvement before committing significant resources. This preemptive approach can save both time and money by preventing costly mistakes or redesigns.
- User-Centered Design: Through digital prototyping, businesses can gather feedback from potential users early in the development process. This user feedback ensures that the final product is tailored to meet user needs and expectations, leading to better user satisfaction and adoption rates.
- Stakeholder Alignment: Presenting a digital prototype to stakeholders, such as investors, board members, or other departments, can provide a clear vision of the proposed solution. It helps in securing buy-in, aligning expectations, and facilitating better communication across the organization.
- Market Validation: Before launching a product or feature, businesses can use digital prototypes to test market reactions. This validation process can involve focus groups, beta testers, or potential clients, providing insights into market demand and potential areas of improvement.
- Reduced Time to Market: By identifying and addressing design or usability issues early through prototyping, businesses can streamline the development process. This efficiency can lead to faster product launches and quicker responses to market needs or trends.
Flexy’s Steps to Create a Digital Prototype
Our team starts each project with a kick-off meeting with all stakeholders to define the project objectives. Next, we collect information on user needs or technical constraints, and business objectives. This is then followed by gathering moodboards and ideating the digital product that we will then prototype:
- Flexy designers begin with low-fidelity sketches or wireframes. A low-fidelity prototype is a basic representation, often static, that visualizes the design's general direction. Once we have the product’s wireframes confirmed, we move on to designing the high-fidelity prototype, which is a detailed and interactive representation that closely mirrors the final product in appearance and function.
- Next, depending on the project scope, we integrate interactivity by addiing clickable elements, transitions, animations, or other interactions to make the prototype functional and to simulate the user experience.
- With the MVP prototype complete, we test the prototype and gather feedback. This test involves stakeholders, potential users, or team members.
- Based on feedback, Flexy designers make necessary revisions to the design and functionality.
- All observations, feedback, and any decisions made during the prototyping phase are recorded and shared with our clients. This documentation will be useful for the development team and for future reference.
- Once the prototype is approved, we provide the development team with all the necessary assets, guidelines, and a brand book to build the actual product.