8 Steps to Building a Software Product Prototype
I’m a techie, I’ve been coding since I was 9 and taking computers apart from even younger. Since then I’ve completed a masters, worked as CTO of a creative technology agency, ran my own consultancy and am now the Founder and CEO of an IoT startup.
Throughout this period, I’ve worked on a wide range of software products — from games to mobile apps to e-commerce systems — with companies just as varied. Given my background, the temptation is to just go straight into the code and hope that something beautiful appears at the end. 99% of the time this is not the case. Projects very quickly become lost in their own existence. Regardless of the size of the project, I always take the same 8 step approach:
- Research — Investigation into the field by studying relevant materials and sources in order to provide a greater understanding of the field. Outlining similar products/services and notable features.
- Requirements — Discover into what elements and functions are necessary for. Outlining list of features to be implemented in the alpha, beta and production phases.
- User experience design (UX) — Process of enhancing user satisfaction by improving the usability, ease of use and pleasure provided in the interaction between the user and the product. This area will produce a prototype with focus on interaction design and usability.
- User interface design (UI) — Actual look and feel design of the final graphical user interface (GUI).
- Database design — Process of producing a detailed data model of the database. This logical data model contains all the needed logical and physical design choices and physical storage parameters needed to generate a design in a data definition language, which can then be used to create a database.
- Alpha development and testing — First complete version of a program or application which will show what the product will do. Thought of as a ‘preview’ version.
- Beta development and testing — With this phase, the product goes from being purely functional to a polished, ready for release version
- Production release — This final iteration is the release candidate that will be pushed live to the public.
For those of you in this space, this may seem a bit obvious, but for those of you that are not, hopefully this will provide a template which will assist you with getting your products to market as quickly as possible.