The Three Stages in Rapid Prototyping
Rapid prototyping allows companies to bring new products to market quickly. Find the Additive Manufacturing.
RetailCo, a large retail company, employs rapid prototyping to test and iterate design and feature ideas for its customer-facing app. By doing this, they have successfully launched it to their target customers.
Stage 1: Quick Design
Rapid prototyping refers to developing first iterations quickly for user testing to gather feedback as soon as possible and determine whether continuing development makes sense or whether other ideas or solutions should be sought to solve your problem. Rapid feedback collection is essential when developing new product concepts; getting instant responses helps determine if developing further is worth your while or whether new approaches should be pursued instead.
Quick design prototypes can be an invaluable way to test new user flows with users and identify any costly development errors while prioritizing features and functionality that provide users with value – saving companies significant money while helping to balance budgets across projects.
Although a quick design prototype might not look exactly like its final counterpart, it should still convey the main functionality and usability. Depending on your project requirements, this might include low-fidelity prototypes that enable users to test essential customer journeys such as checking account balances or opening new bank accounts; or high-fidelity prototypes that require more significant interaction and visual accuracy.
When developing a quick design prototype, it is essential to set clear goals for testing sessions and focus on validating specific user flows. Doing so will reduce distractions and keep the prototype on target with its purpose.
Create a quick prototype using various tools, from wireframe templates and UX design software like Figma to prototyping components like Maze that integrate with these popular programs and allow easy drag-and-drop onto designs.
Stage 2: High-Fidelity Mockups
As design teams move from wireframes, mockups, and low-fidelity prototypes to high-fidelity prototypes, their focus becomes increasingly fine-grained. Images, copy, graphics, and interactivity of buttons/menus become clickable; this level of fidelity enables stakeholders to see how design decisions impact user journey experience and provide valuable feedback about specific aspects.
Fidelity in prototype design is essential to accurately test how well a product works and ensure that design teams don’t spend too much time or energy creating elements that are unlikely to be used or that will confuse customers. Following the Pareto principle can also help design teams focus on the 20% of features with the most significant impact.
Rapid prototyping allows prototypes to be created quickly and affordably, significantly cutting costs and timelines for development and production. They can also be shared quickly and easily with stakeholders to gather quick feedback before designs are finalized – helping ensure everyone understands the new product perfectly.
Physical models can easily be shared with clients, colleagues, and investors to demonstrate an idea or concept. Prototypes can make your brand more visible and increase sales; 3D printing using SLA printers produce more accurate models than standard plastic injection molding processes.
The fidelity of prototypes can tremendously affect the type of feedback they generate. A low-fidelity prototype may be ideal for conducting guided user testing, whereas, to gather accurate data during unmoderated studies, you would require high-fidelity prototypes with more excellent resolution. Furthermore, changing high-fidelity prototypes is typically more costly than changing low-fi wireframes or mockups, so their use should be limited accordingly.
Stage 3: Functional Prototypes
Functional prototype testing entails creating prototypes closer to the final product in terms of appearance and size, along with interactive ones designed to mimic user behavior. Functional prototypes help teams gather user feedback to evaluate designs rapidly. This step is crucial since nearly 50% of products never reach the market, and 30-30% fail shortly after their debut.
An accurate prototype is critical to garnering honest reactions and precise feedback, yet teams must balance its need with its cost in terms of time and resources spent creating it. Ideally, it should be ready for testing within one week so it can quickly adapt based on new input.
Functional prototypes can provide valuable information about your target audience and how best to meet their needs. For instance, when users respond positively to the prototype, it indicates a viable product concept that should continue development. At that point, the team should refine its design to make it as helpful and usable as possible, increasing the chance of its successful launch.
Prototyping is an invaluable resource that enables product teams to transform paper designs into release-worthy prototypes quickly and cost-effectively. By preceding costs associated with developing and testing prototypes that won’t go into production, prototyping helps save both time and money for businesses. While moving from prototype to actual product can take years, rapid prototyping enables teams to accelerate this timeline and increase the chances of success. Contact Maze now to experience its powerful benefits for yourself – building high-quality prototypes in minutes is easier than ever!