What Is A Prototype?
A prototype is the first full-scale and usually functional form of a new design.
Why Do We Prototype?
1) Fail early and inexpensively – Real innovation always includes a risk of failure. Thomas Edison once joked, “We now know a thousand ways not to build a light bulb.” By designing and building a prototype, you can quickly weed out the approaches that don’t work to focus on the ones that do.
2) Gather more accurate requirements – Almost half of all project costs are attributed to rework due to inadequate requirements. Traditional requirements gathering techniques such as interviews and focus groups can fall short because many people find it difficult to conceptualize a website before they see it. By developing a working prototype, you can demonstrate the functionality to help solidify requirements for the final design.
3) Technically understand the problem – It is unfortunate that system architecture must come so early in the design process because time only enhances your understanding of the problems that you may encounter. Have you ever thought, “If I could go back in time, I would change … ”? By developing a functional prototype, you are forced to address both the foreseen and the unforeseen technical challenges of a website’s design. Then, you can apply those solutions to a more elegant system design when you move to the final deployed solution.
4) Resolve conflicts – The best designers and developers have strong opinions about how a given feature should be implemented. Inevitably, differences of opinion result in conflicts, and these conflicts can be difficult to resolve because both sides have only opinions, experience, and conjecture to refer to as evidence. By taking advantage of a prototyping platform, you can quickly conduct several different implementations of the feature and benchmark the resulting performance to analyze the trade-offs of each approach. This can save time, but it also ensures that you make the correct design decisions.