Oftentimes, clients approach me with questions surrounding prototypes and mockups. They normally center around the value of starting with a prototype and what the next steps are once we start: “Why should we design first? How will this help my developers? When should we meet to go over the mockup?”
There is value in planning, in prototyping, in building blueprints. The interfaces that we create serve as a baseline for agile feedback and eventual development.
Prototypes are blueprints. In the same way that buildings are created based on these drawings, there needs to be a framework prior to construction. Without this framework, there would not be a complete vision in mind, which would result in confusion and miscommunication. In a similar vein, crafting a two-story, cookie-cutter home based off of a model home can be accomplished through inference, but creating a mansion or a skyscraper that aligns with the client’s wishes and parameters requires plenty of advance planning. This is where the true value lies.
Software, web and mobile applications, websites, and digital experiences require the integration of agile stakeholder feedback, a formidable design, feasibility analysis, intuitive interactions, assets, copy, and end-user validation. How can a software engineer or developer add that to their plate while focusing on coding a suitable product? The answer is: They shouldn’t. This work should be done in the blueprint phase, prior to a line of code being written. Diving into development can be costly, so we focus on creating value prior to start. A framework also helps guide developers, which leads to faster and higher quality products.
In our article What is UI Design? we discuss the process associated with making usable interfaces. Screens get created with elements as we map out interaction and behaviors. In What is UX Design?, we pair interface design with empathy to assess a product that aligns with the goals of the core audience and stakeholders. We brainstorm, ideate, and create based on assumptions, but what really helps the prototypical process is getting feedback and testing without having to develop technical debt or code in iterative environments. Tests are immensely important to this process.
Once design is underway, it is important to realign with continual meetings to ensure the creative aspect of prototyping is on point. Connect with us today to get started on your blueprint.