Creativity is the developer’s most valuable asset. The ability to envision what needs to be accomplished is a skillset that only a few people possess. In a software development team, it’s a requirement if you want to transform your thoughts into reality.
In the early stages, this is often done through the use of pen and paper. That’s because you need to be able to develop multiple concepts and ideas at a fast pace. Your goal is to map out your workflows and create a visual representation of what you want to accomplish.
After coming up with many different options, you’ll finally choose one that you and your team agree with. At this stage, we know you are eager to make it come to life as quickly as possible, but before investing a ton of time, money, and resources on the development phase, we recommend you develop a software prototype first. Here’s why:
1. Improves User Experience
Over the last couple of years, we’ve seen massive progress in the software space. Each year the applications being built become more complex. Clients are more demanding than ever, and if you want them to use your product, you need to deliver a great user experience.
Right now there’s a big emphasis on developing customer-centric products. This relies on user feedback and involvement throughout the development process. The insights you receive will allow you to focus on what users find valuable.
From a personal standpoint, this will allow you to create an easy to use and enjoyable experience for them. And from a business standpoint, when they are pleased with your product, you increase the value and the reputation of your brand.
2. Identifies and Addresses Problems Early on
After coming up with multiple concepts, there’s a few that will really stand out. You might believe you’ve got a winner on your hands, but don’t be too quick to judge. When you are working on your software every day, it’s easy to lose touch with what the user really wants.
By using prototype design software, you can get users to interact with your product and analyze the stages at which they become stuck, and in which sections they experience challenges. This will allow you to uncover what works and what doesn’t early on in the process while being able to test your hypothesis before writing a single line of code.
3. Gathers and Exchanges Feedback
Getting honest feedback is essential when developing software. The great thing about prototypes is that it brings people together to collaborate and propose solutions to common problems. Whether it’s the teams that are building the product, or users who are testing it out, when everyone is aligned and communicating with each other, they’re destined to create something great.
From the user’s standpoint, interacting with your software makes them feel valued. They experience a sense of importance when they are involved in carrying out decisions that will shape the future of the product. And as a company, when you take the time to listen to them, you show that you care about their opinions. This makes them feel more comfortable using your products and communicating their experiences too.
4. Helps to Visualize How The Final Solution Will Look and Function
While low fidelity prototypes are great to gather quick feedback, high fidelity prototypes are often the deciding factor as to whether your software will be successful or not.
A high fidelity prototype looks and functions like the actual product that you will build. It’s most commonly used in the final stages of prototyping to get approval from users, team members, and stakeholders.
Since it often looks like the finished version of your product, users are more likely to behave as if they’re interacting with the real thing. They’re also great for demonstration purposes and clearly demonstrate how the product is supposed to work.
Any feedback you get from this stage is critical. Any changes you need to make should be done at this stage Because anything done after this will be hard to fix. Once your product has been finished, updates can take weeks and will cost you a lot of time, money, and effort.
5. Estimates Development Costs and Potential Resource Requirements
When you’re able to simulate the end product without it being completed, you can gather feedback early on in the process, and make any improvements before investing in large-scale operations.
From a product development perspective, a digital prototype teaches you quickly to eliminate waste. Anything that appears to be redundant or unnecessary should be removed. As a result, this helps you to reduce the time it takes to build a product and reduces maintenance throughout its life cycle.
By solving problems up-front, you are able to reduce operating costs and minimize risks. This allows you to create a product that is able to match your user’s goals and meets their expectations.
As you can see, software prototyping is essential if you want to create a product that people will use and find valuable.
In the early stages, it’s common for development teams to focus on using pen and paper to map out their ideas. However, that’s precisely what we believe this method should be used for: to brainstorm and think of different concepts that can be used to solve your user’s problem.
Over time, this method loses its effectiveness because It’s too simplistic to make decisions based on sketches and assumptions. What you need Is actual feedback from users.
That’s why software prototyping is so beneficial. In a time where users value intuitiveness and convenience, getting them to use a simulated version of the final product allows you to analyze their behavior and make decisions based on what’s best for the customer.
This brings about greater collaboration and helps to spot problems early on. By identifying these redundancies, you eliminate waste and develop a product that’s built to last.