Rapid App Prototyping Tips: How to Get the Fast Launch of Your MVP

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail” — Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin could only guess about the technological future of the world, that’s for sure. But being prepared is as important to us as it was to any professional many years ago. Building a new software product without a proper plan can be really harmful. And at TecSynt, we give it much of our attention.

Not to waste time and money of our clients, we’re going to explain why planning ahead (i.e. prototyping) is a vital stage for your project and how to speed it up when you create a mobile application.

What Does Rapid App Prototyping Mean?

To be true, the term is really simple. Rapid app prototyping means creating a completely new comprehensive model of a software product in the fastest possible way. Yes, it is easy to understand, but hardly all companies use this approach in their business activities. Imagine that you’re going to launch a new project which concerns urban development or manufacturing. A thorough plan is the first thing you’re thinking about, right?

It’s not surprising that software app development also requires some consideration before taking certain actions. Creating an app prototype gives you and a project team a full-grown graphical image of the product, so everyone knows the milestones and work directions.

But let’s get back to the “rapid” concept. If you have a startup requiring a fast delivery, time is your first priority. That’s why it’s extremely helpful to collaborate with professionals who respect your priorities.

Low-Fidelity Prototypes vs. High-Fidelity Prototypes

When discussing your idea with a development team, you will be offered to work with various kinds of prototypes. It is important not to get lost and achieve your business goals. In the terms of the rapid app prototyping, you should be aware of low-fidelity and high-fidelity prototypes.

Read also: Top 3 UI Design Trends of 2018

Not to go far with explanations, you should know that low-fidelity prototypes are always less detailed. It may be useful when you want to gather the main functionality of your app in one place. Basically, it is a sketchy design which focuses on the features more than the user interface of your product.

At the same time, high-fidelity prototypes have way more details and usually, they look more like a real product. Having such a prototype, your team can work on the user’s journey within the app. These models are more about a visual part than about a functional part of the product. It costs more, but it is usually a good presentation for the future investors who want to know as much as possible.

Benefits of Rapid Mobile App Prototyping

High-fidelity prototyping is surely more time-consuming, but a quickly growing market requires rapid decisions from all types of specialists. Good mobile development companies are able to offer you initial prototypes in a very short period of time. Apart from that, you also get some advantages which will benefit your business:

1. Your product idea will be validated at the early stages of work.

2. It leads to the second point — a well-defined idea reduces the time and money necessary for the following development process.

3. With a detailed prototype, you can define project requirements. Thanks to that, a manager makes a list of risks and decreases the number of changes in the product when it is already being built.

4. You’ll be able to gather feedback from potential users at the earliest stage of the product development. This type of insight is the most valuable for the project’s future.

5. You can start negotiations with investors immediately at the beginning of the work.

It all sounds rather exciting, doesn’t it? Now you’re probably wondering how development companies speed up the initiation stage of the project and create high-fidelity prototypes. We’re ready to share some secrets.

5 Tips for Rapid App Prototyping

To start a project smoothly, we have to collect best practices and polish them in our daily work. These five notes are a distillation of the data that we know from our experience.

1. Set up an impeccable management process

Any project starts and ends up with the help of a project manager. To make all processes transparent for the client, a leader works with the team using design sprints and a corresponding software. Rapid prototyping is possible when both designers and a manager use special tools accelerating all processes.

All in all, personal expertise plays the main role when creating a high-fidelity prototype, but professional software helps deliver a result much faster than it was before.

2. Speak one language with a client

When we start working with a new client, the first thing to us is to learn more about the industry of the future product. Of course, we will never become gurus in it as well as our client won’t become a technical expert, but building a software product requires some basic knowledge from us.

  • Who is the target audience? There are always certain users who will gladly install a certain kind of app. A professional team knows how many groups of the audience the app has and what their portraits are.
  • What is the main business goal? This objective will become a foundation of the application’s functionality. A business owner should see how each screen of the product helps him to achieve the destination point.
  • Why are we working on this feature? Sometimes, there is a slight difference between a necessary functionality and a fancy element. On this stage, we focus on the main list of features — and this is when a roadmap can help.

3. Create a roadmap to follow your heading

When you think about the app’s roadmap, a user experience must be the first thing that comes to mind. But now we’re discussing rapid actions, so roadmap is also a useful tool to keep a team and a business owner on track.

Read also: Mobile App Design for Beginners: The Basics of Your Work

We start with a minimum number of screens — just to draw a clear picture for everyone. When all designers follow the same course, they work faster and without distractions. If it is a product with complex features, each of the scenarios can be prototyped separately from the others.

As a result, the app’s framework is born really fast, and then we can focus on the small detailing making a product unique and memorable for customers.

4. Give your prototype a feel of the finished product

Now, when a roadmap is ready and other details are added, the prototype should be brought to perfection. A high-fidelity prototype can give a project a real use because it saves the developers’ time and gives many opportunities during the negotiations with investors.

These benefits are much closer to you when a prototype has all possible details within itself. From our experience, detailed prototypes make the development process smoother and more understandable for a business owner who is usually a non-technical person.

5. Implement reusable elements

And the final tip is a long-term commitment. There are times when we should act really fast to deliver an initial visualization of the product. In such cases, we use patterns and elements from previous experience.

It is especially helpful when reusable elements don’t concern the testing part — they serve as additional design units. So, we may focus on important custom functionality and save time for the rest of the elements.

Speed and Quality in One Prototype

These two components are a reality we want to achieve even though it seemed impossible just several years ago. Mobile app design can easily start with a detailed prototype created in the shortest possible period of time if you choose to work with a team of professionals.

Our creative experts run each stage of the prototyping process:

  • Building information architecture
  • Mastering interaction design
  • Using the newest software for rapid prototyping
  • Conducting usability testing, etc.

We believe that focusing on the business goals and using the right tools can be a winning combination when we set our minds on rapid app prototyping. If you want to see how it works, start your next project with TecSynt’s team.

This story is published in The Startup, Medium’s largest entrepreneurship publication followed by 322,555+ people.

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