A prototype is a mock-up of the product you plan to bring to market.
In product development, prototypes take guessing and conjecture out of the equation. Prototypes are not only useful for internal decision-making, but can also help your company attract sponsors and future clients.
Product samples can come in a variety of forms; from a working model, to a purely representational, non-working model, or even a video.
With so many options, how do you decide which prototype to use?
Simply put, it mainly comes down to the specifics of what you’re testing, the level of completeness of your design, and the resources that are available to you. With that in mind, we hope the following article sheds light on how your company can best approach prototyping.
Interactive aka “Clickable” Prototypes
Interactive prototyping involves setting a response for every potential user interaction before any testing occurs. When a user interacts with a clickable target, the interactive prototype is intended to respond accordingly.
Unlike interactive prototyping, static prototyping responses aren’t determined before a testing period, but rather, happen during testing. The following are common forms of this type of prototyping:
Wizard of Oz Prototyping
In Wizard of Oz prototyping (WOZ prototyping), a user interacts with a product, while a designer in a different location controls the product and decides what happens. This method is commonly used to figure out how to best implement AI-based technology in a product.
Steal-the-mouse prototyping is similar to Wizard of Oz prototyping except that the “wizard designer” is in the same room as the user.
In paper-prototyping, the product’s design is sketched onto paper. Someone who is familiar with the product’s design plays the role of “the computer,” responding to the live user’s interactions with the paper screen.
Classifying the Prototypes: Low-Fidelity and High-Fidelity
Low fidelity and high fidelity prototyping refer to the correlation between the prototype and the final product.
A low-fidelity prototype is used to hone in on some—but not all —elements of a product. If a designer wants to get a feel for a product’s aesthetic qualities more so than the functional attributes, a low-fidelity prototype would be appropriate. Low fidelity-prototypes require less time than their high-fidelity counterparts. They also allow more room for additional changes in the product development cycle.
A high-fidelity prototype is a comprehensive model that corresponds with the desired end product as closely as possible. High-fidelity prototypes encompass the user interface (UI) of a product and the user experience (UX). High-fidelity prototyping is useful when the product’s visuals are set, and the interactive elements are close to being finalized. Target customers can test out high-fidelity prototypes and offer their instant feedback. High-fidelity prototypes usually cost more than low-fidelity models, require more time, and are more difficult to make immediate changes to.
Pivot International brings over 40 years of experience in product design and complete prototyping services. Having worked with both entrepreneurial start-ups and established corporations, we know how the prototyping process can work to your specific benefit. Contact us to see what Pivot can do for you today.