Design Thinking Prototype: A Step-By-Step Guide For Creating Successful Products

Before turning your ideas into products, planning and testing them first is best. This is what prototyping does it allows you to explore your ideas in a tangible form and see how they would work in the real world before you commit to them. Doing this can save your brand time, money, and effort by ensuring you only release products that are likely to be successful. 

Let’s explore the ins and outs of prototyping, including what it is, how it’s used, and why it’s important.

🌟What Is A Prototype?

Prototypes are early product models built to test a concept or process. They can be used in various contexts, such as UX design sprint or software programming. Prototyping in the design thinking process allows designers to test the feasibility of their designs and get feedback from potential users.

By creating a prototype an almost working mode of the product designers can assess customers on whether the product solves users’ issues and get insights into how users think and feel about the product. This helps designers make informed decisions about their designs before too many resources are invested. 

Design thinking prototypes are a key tool for early product iteration, thereby verifying its core functionality. In addition, prototypes can be a helpful way to test various aspects of your product without having to commit to a final, complete product. They are usually quick and simple, designed for early testing and understanding, but they can also be more detailed and full-formed when needed for pilot trials in the later stages of a project. 

🌟Importance Of Prototyping 

A prototype is helpful for a team member to understand their tasks better, do more realistic planning of deadlines, and estimate the cost of work more accurately. Developing the website in line with the prototype means you don’t have to account for the cost of changes and modifications. Planning accurate development deadlines and expenses would be much more difficult without a prototype.

Additionally, adhering strictly to the prototype during website development eliminates the need to make changes and modifications later, saving time and money. 

By having prototypes of every site page available, you will be able better to design the overall style of the future site. Additionally, the presence of prototypes can significantly speed up the design process by eliminating the need for many edits. 

Don’t miss out on this exclusive video! Click play now to learn more about the Importance Of Prototyping In Design and how it can benefit you. Trust us, you won’t want to miss this.👇

🌟Where Does Prototyping Comes In Design Thinking? 

Prototype in design thinking play a crucial role and can be especially useful in the final testing phase. By testing how users interact with a prototype, you can reveal new solutions to problems or determine whether your implementing solutions have succeeded.

In addition, the results from these tests can determine one or more of the issues established earlier in the project. This will help you build a more robust understanding of users’ problems when interacting with your product in the intended environment. 

🌟Benefits Of Prototyping 

One of the main advantages of the prototype in design thinking is that it allows designers to think through the user’s perspective and design with empathy. Too often, products are designed without regard for the people using them, creating unnecessary features, bad design, and many other problems. 

Here are some other benefits of prototyping that you may not know about👇

👉Evaluate technical feasibility

A prototype is essential for any investor because it allows you to materialize your idea and see which features might be difficult to implement.

In addition, creating a prototype can identify unanticipated physical, technical, or financial constraints. 

👉Enhance the quality of the product

With a prototype that’s been adequately studied, you can test for usability, navigation, and information accessibility on the site. You can also check to see if visual accents are placed correctly- for example, what the user should see first, second, etc.

The data you collect will allow you to make quick edits to the design thinking prototype without waiting for a better project to be created. 

👉Present your idea more clearly

A prototype is an important tool for entrepreneurs because it allows them to present their future offers to potential customers concretely. By doing so, they have a considerable asset before the final launch of their offer.

In addition, collecting potential customers’ opinions, testimonials, and recommendations through a prototype allows entrepreneurs to prepare their marketing-communication actions better and start their pre-sales. 

👉Saves cost

By gauging the opinions of potential customers, businesses can make improvements to their offerings and eventually create a product that is optimal for their target market.

Additionally, creating several prototypes before launching mass production is advisable, as this will help avoid the extra costs associated with unsold inventory and reprogramming the production line. 

👉Quick feedback from clients

Your product vision is unique, and you would want to see it reflected in the final product. By presenting a prototype, you are helping to unify all ideas and get feedback from various perspectives. The designers can then see the product materialized and provide more focused feedback on desired details. 

👉Simulate real product

A prototype is important because it gives you a realistic simulation of your future product. This can help you attract customers and investors to get the necessary resources for implementation. You can also test the design for the correctness and find errors before the product goes into production. Also, a prototype helps you determine in advance how well the product works and if it meets their expectations. 

👉Risk reduction

The risks of a project are significantly lower when prototypes are used during the development process as opposed to not using them at all. This may not be an obvious advantage, but it’s crucial nonetheless. 

Creating prototypes is an important part of the product development process as it helps to identify and reduce risks early on. In addition, doing so can avoid potential problems and ensure a smoother development overall. 

👉Quick & easy to create

Even the person using the product can help develop a design thinking prototype. First, you need to take a simple idea down on paper so the designer understands the functionality and logic of what is being created.

Then, an experienced designer will transform this simple illustration for the product as a foundation to build a final, ready-to-implement product. 

Book An Appointment To Plan Your Design Sprint With Our Expert Vishvajit Sande

🌟Best Prototyping Tools For UI/UX Designers 

Prototyping is essential to the UX design process. But, as with anything else in the world of UX, many tools are available to help you get the job done right. 

We have compiled a list of the 9 best prototyping tools for UI/UX designers, complete with an explanation of how each one works. 

📌 Figma

Figma is the ultimate design tool for anyone who wants to create beautiful designs without the hassle of trying to learn multiple software programs. With Figman, you can do everything from wireframing to prototyping, UI design, collaboration, design system management, and developer handoff, all in one place. 

Figma logo gif

Figma is a program that allows you to take static design files and turn them into interactive prototypes with no coding required. The builder is easy to use and only requires a few clicks to connect various UI elements and choose your interactions and animations. Plus, once you build your prototype, you can view it on mobile using the Figma app or share the link so others can view it in their browser.

📌 Sketch

If you are looking for a digital design platform that does everything, Sketch is your software. With Sketch, you can easily create static designs, prototypes, and developer handoffs. 

Using Sketch’s vector editing tools, you can create static designs in Canvas and then use the prototyping function to preview your designs and navigate between screens with animated interactions. 

Sketch homepage

Add links between two screens to quickly turn your static screens into interactive design thinking prototypes in Sketch. You can then fine-tune your prototypes by adding Hotspots (clickable areas), fixing certain elements in place, and setting start points to determine which Artboard your prototype starts with when you preview it. 

You can preview your Sketch prototypes in three ways: directly in the Sketch app (for Mac), via the Sketch Mirror app (for iOS devices), or in the web app. 

📌 Marvel

Marvel is a rapid prototyping, testing, and handoff tool endorsed by companies such as Nokia, Monzo, Buzzfeed, and Deliveroo. It’s a great tool for digital designers who need to finish their work quickly and efficiently. 

Marvel allows you to import static designs from other software, create wireframes from scratch, or use the Sketch plugin to sync Sketch files into the app directly. This allows you to prototype quickly and easily without compromising on quality. 

Marvel app homepage

Marvel’s prototyping tool is designed so any user can easily access it. With your static designs ready, hover over any file within your project and click on the “prototype” option. This will take you to the editor, where you can create hotspot links and add effects, transitions, and gestures. 

To see what your prototype will look like once it’s completed, close the editor and press “Play” in the project view. This will take you to Play mode, where you can test it yourself by clicking and interacting with it as if it’s a real, live product. If you are happy with how it looks and works, you can share your prototype with others for feedback or test it in front of users. 

📌 Adobe XD

Adobe XD is a powerful vector-based tool perfect for collaboration when designing and prototyping. 

Adobe XD has two modes: Design and Prototype. Design mode is for static designs, where you add elements to artboards. Artboards are like the pages of a website or app. Prototype mode adds interactions, links artboards, and previews your design. 

Adobe xd homepage

 

Prototype mode allows you to turn static designs into interactive prototypes by drawing links between your artboards. This way, you can simulate the flow of your website or app. 

You can send them a URL or embed code if you want to share your prototype with others. If you enable the commenting function, stakeholders can give feedback directly on the prototype itself, which can help make changes and improvements. 

📌 InVision

InVision is a web app that helps with architecture and design. It provides everything you need to switch from wireframing to UI design. 

InVision also comes with helpful methods for easy teamwork integration and prototyping. Similar to some of the apps mentioned above, InVision supports real-time design changes and quick feedback collection from teams while allowing designers to organize their workflow. 

Invision homepage

📌 Proto.io

Proto.io is an innovative browser-based prototyping tool that enables users to create prototypes using a drag-and-drop interface. With its library of different customizable templates and components, Proto.io makes it easy to design high-fidelity prototypes without any prior experience or design knowledge.

Proto.io gif

🌟Comparison Between “Sketch, Figma & Adobe XD” 

All three software options are excellent, but each has its advantages. For example, if being able to work together on a project is essential to your design process, Figma is the best choice. On the other hand, if you prefer personalizing your work with different plugins, Sketch might be a better fit. And if you are already comfortable using Adobe’s creative cloud products, Adobe XD might be easier for you to learn. 

🌟Why Do We Use Figma For Prototyping?

👉Do it all in one single tool

As said earlier, Figma is the jack of all trades, and you can design thinking prototypes. You share and collect the feedback in one tool, and with fake jam, you can do all the UX activity. You can complete 90% of the work on one single platform.

👉Edits appear instantly in the prototype

This is the most valuable part for a designer. You can access your prototype in your mobile app with real-time changes through Figma’s mobile app. You can also directly access the designs in the Prototype mode of Figma. For example, if you are making a web app or a SaaS product, you can use the fit-in the browser prototype mode and share it with others. 

👉Prototyping in Figma is robust

Features like action transactions, overflow behaviors, and smart animation help a designer to bring life into the designs. If used appropriately, these features can do wonders for your prototyping stage. 

👉Get comments on your prototype in real time

This feature is a boon to a UI/UX designer. It allows greater collaboration between the team members and clients. The clients can comment on the changes in the designs in real-time, even in different time zones. You can share your design links and get quick and real-time feedback. 

🌟How Should You Make A Prototype?

Prototyping is an important process for refining a product because it allows designers to research new ways to build the product, test the existing design, and confirm the product’s functionality before it goes into full production. In addition, by prototyping, designers can identify what works and doesn’t work in their design so they can make necessary changes. 

👉Create prototypes that give a real experience

  • Connecting the UI elements
  • Define subtle interactions 
  • Experience your designs in real life 
  • Use images, videos & animated GIFs 
  • Apply advanced transitions and create detailed transitions

🌟All Interactions, Sub-interactions & Animations In Figma 

Here are some of our favorite interactions, sub-interactions & animations in Figma. Let’s get into the Figma file. 

The prototype panel has a device section through which you can choose any mock-up for your prototype. The device section shows the latest versions of Android or iPhone models. Figma even provides mock-ups for tablets and smartwatches. You can also choose the customized size and play around with your designs as a designer. 

Figma also allows you to change the background for your mock-ups. “Flows” are the starting point of a prototype. Then, you can copy the link to your prototype to share the link with your clients or team members. The “play” or “present” option allows you to play the particular flow. You can also edit the name of the flow as per your choice. 

Let’s jump into a basic prototype in Figma👇 

👉Create interactions

You can determine what kind of interactions users will be able to have with the product. You can create multiple interactions with the same layer or object;

  1. To access the Prototype tab, click on the right sidebar. 
  2. Choose a layer or object to become the connection’s hotspot. 
  3. To move a frame, click and drag it to its new destination. You can use the options in the interactions section of the properties panel. 
  4. After establishing the connection, the interaction details panel allows you to change your interaction’s trigger, action, and destination. 

👉Adjust the animation

The prototype’s animation settings determine how it moves from one frame to the next. 

  1. Before starting your animation, select the type of transition you want. 
  2. You can choose the direction of the animation, and how fast or slow it moves. 
  3. You also have the option to set how long animation takes and whether you want to smart animate matching layers. 
  4. When you are ready, view a preview of the animation to see how it will look. 

When you enable Smart Animate, it looks for layers that match between frames in your prototype and automatically apply the Smart Animate transition to them. This can save you a lot of time when creating your prototypes, as you won’t need to animate the layers manually. 

Below is a YouTube video that explains all the aspects of Figma to make an attractive prototype👇

🌟How Prototype Helps Developers?

A prototype is essential for a few reasons the main one is that it allows each team member to understand their assigned tasks better. In addition, with a prototype, team members can do more realistic planning of development deadlines and more accurately determine the work cost. Finally, developing a website by the prototype also means you won’t have to consider the cost of changes and modifications. 

Designing prototypes of all pages on your site will give you a great idea of the site’s overall style. A prototype also speeds up the design process, as you won’t need to make as many changes. 

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Conclusion

There are a lot of different prototypes that you can select from, and it can be overwhelming to determine which one is a perfect fit for your project. The best way to decide is by considering all aspects of the design thinking prototype, such as people, objects, locations, and interactions. 

Prototyping in design thinking is a crucial stage, especially for software. Every software will pass through the development stage. Therefore, it’s important to incorporate prototypes in the plans to ensure proper product development and dimensions. Furthermore, since prototyping is simple to create and forms the basis of development, missing them will mean a future product with significant challenges. 

Content Team

This blog is from Mindbowser‘s content team – a group of individuals coming together to create pieces that you may like. If you have feedback, please drop us a message on contact@mindbowser.com

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