The increasing number of businesses when shaping their digital presence with websites or mobile apps are realizing the importance of User Experience (UX) design. As there are now billions of smartphone users spread across a wide variety of devices, offering a smooth and consistent user experience is the key to success for their mobile strategy.
A great mobile app design obviously begins by putting the app idea into an app design or well-articulated sketch describing the app with all on-screen elements. This is what we know as app prototyping, the quintessential embryo of the mobile app design process. App prototyping is important to evaluate and validate key design decisions. The design prototype is evaluated through usability testing that unveils the shortcomings and issues with the app design.
Here we are going to explain the key advantages of mobile app prototyping. But let us first begin with the definition of app prototyping.
What Exactly is a Mobile App Prototype?
A mobile app prototype basically describes how an app functions through a well-articulated design for app screens. It represents the app screens and the app functions with a detailed design layout. Communicating the look and feel of the app and its navigation is the key objective of a mobile app prototype. A prototype is likely to appear with several design flaws and errors that over time will be discovered and addressed by the users.
When we need to ensure delivering a highly user-centric design, testing the app prototype becomes highly essential. Prototyping just by being an intensive design thinking and design research process allows faster iteration for evaluating the design. The app prototype unveils all the design requirements and provides a suitable direction for app development.
Key Advantages of Mobile App Prototyping
App prototyping is of seminal importance to mobile app design strategy for any mobile app development company. From ensuring design validation to making way for the iterative and collaborative design process to the scope of exploring new design and development ideas to the predictability of the user experience and cost advantage, app prototyping offers a gamut of advantages for mobile app projects of all types and niches.
Having a clear idea about the app you are going to build is a key positive attribute for any app project. Thanks to the app prototype, the developers and designers can have a clear understanding of the app product they are going to build. Any uncertainty regarding the on-screen design elements and app features can actually have negative consequences for the app. This is where app prototyping plays a great role. A prototype ensures a shared understanding of how the app is going to look, how the app functions going to work and how the user interactions are going to happen. All of these elements depicted visually helps developers to build the product as intended.
Trying New Ideas
Every app idea when deployed to the design prototype visually shows the merits and shortcomings of the idea. Based upon this visual look and feel of the app, further design improvements and value additions can be planned. When the app prototype is presented before the users, the user-centric insights further can desecrate the app idea with all its pros and cons. Based on several iterations and usability testing, new ideas can also be tried on the app prototype once built. This also helps in evaluating the final outcome of the app idea through something solid and visible.
Collaboration between Client and Stakeholders
During the app development process, clients and stakeholders of the app project can involve and collaborate to build a better app product. When the app designers through the prototype to explore new ideas and share their feedback mutually, this helps in the participation of the clients and users. The constant iteration and collaboration of various stakeholders including clients help to achieve the app objective more precisely.
Making a Saleable Value Proposition
Long before your app is actually built, you may require to build the prototype just as a token of your conceptual and design excellence. The app idea put into tangible and visible design layout looks more convincing and confident than a vague idea expressed with eloquent words. Whether you need to sell the app idea to gather finance for the project or you need to win the confidence of the client, a prototype comes with a clear value proposition. This makes acceptance of your app easier.
Assured and Predictable Outcome
An app prototype helps you to maintain the design objective of the app and come with the app design that doesn’t deviate from the original plan or concept. With an app prototype guiding your actual design decisions and app development process, you cannot deviate too further from your app objectives and intended goals. With the app prototype, you are likely to maintain the same predictability throughout the project life cycle.
Easier and Faster Market Validation
As per the report of Statista.com, around 25% of app downloads lead to single-time use in a duration of six months. This alarming statistic is a clear indication that most apps after being downloaded basically fail to deliver what users expected from them. Well, this is why app ideas and projects need market validation to ensure that the app is going to attract traction and engagement as it has intended. App prototyping helps faster and easier market validation of the app product.
Less Expensive Design Process
The app design process can involve a lot of iterations and continuous value additions and corrections. Changing design and iterating later in the development stage can be costly for an app project. On the other hand, early prototyping and shaping the intended design elements at the very beginning can help a project avoid iteration and change at a later stage. This significantly lowers the development and design costs for an app.
Mobile app prototyping has now become a critical part of app development projects across the spectrum. Prototyping skills is likely to be a key value in the portfolio and resume of app designers and developers of the future.