Prototype as if you are right. Listen as if you are wrong.

The music made me do it: The ultimate prototyping playlist

Sharpwitted Present: The Ultimate Prototyping Playlist. A list of songs that embody the essence of a great Prototype.

You have a great idea and your market research shows you it will be a great success. You and your team have been working for months brainstorming, designing, planning, building and perfectioning.

The launch is there and everybody is excited, seeing the smiles and hearing the positive feedback from the customers. You wait, and you wait and nothing is happening, The customers are not interested in the product and when asked, their feedback is that they don’t understand how the product works and what it brings them. 

Now there you are, having spend all that valuable time, money and resources to no avail. 

Say hi to Prototyping, which provides you with a set of tools and approaches for testing your ideas before investing too many resources.

Let’s explore Prototyping whilst playing the ultimate prototyping playlist.

TL;DR

I created The Ultimate Product Prototyping playlist for you, to remember yourself and those who are with you, how freaking awesome, and valuable it is.

Which songs remind you of prototyping? Am curious to read them in the comments!

What is the prototype?

A prototype is a simplified model of a proposed solution, to help you test and recognize. A prototype is created with several purposes in mind

The six purposes of prototyping: (1) Learning (2) Communication (3) Exploration (4) Integration (5) Refinement & Abstraction (6) Demonstration

Learning

You probably guessed it, one of the biggest reasons for prototyping is learning. Through prototyping, you can answer questions regarding the users’ requirements, preference and behaviors and their impact on the product’s functionality and technical elements. At the same time, it provides insights into things that might impact the performance both from a business-related and technical perspective

Communication

It is to understand how an idea appeals to stakeholders, by showcasing the concept, communicating aesthetics and have stakeholders experience closely the product’s look and feel. The prototype serves as a means of visual aid for initiating discussion and, in return, getting feedback.

Exploration

Through initiating discussion and acquiring feedback, a prototype will help you to enhance ideation and develop more concepts, compare prototypes with each other and reach a more informed concept selection.

Integration

By closely observing how stakeholders experience the look and feel, you can optimize the compatibility between parts and parts & system. 

Refinement

Prototypes allow you to validate specifications, identify those features with the most significant impact on performance, uncover optimization opportunities, and reveal possible errors

Abstraction

It enables you to uncover unknown requirements, understand users’ priorities and identify the exact target group. In other words, it helps you to simplify.

Demonstration

Bringing it all together, it confirms a certain degree of functionality and assists you in planning the terms of time and cost to establish these functionalities as well as next steps to evolve the product

How it works

Prototypes come in many forms, with each having a different purpose and fidelity degree to validate a concept.

Low fidelity prototypes are created in the arly stages, are simplified and contain some characteristics of the target solution, to ensure the content is right. High Fidelity prototypes are created at a later stage, allow realistic user interaction bring the customers as close as possible to the real user interface representation, and test the xisting hypotheses

For simplification (maybe over simplification) I have plotted some of the most popular prototypes in a Prildelity chart (The Prototyping chart that loves you back) to show what the evolution of your prototype could look like.

The Prildelity chart, showing prototypes in a matrix based on fidelity and usage throughout the discovery phase

Now let’s dive into this

Lowfidelity Prototypes

The Paper Prototype: Teams, create a paper representation of the envisioned product, showcasing how the product reacts to customer interaction. 

Post-it notes, sketches and a poster are commonly used to visualize the prototype.

The paper prototype is ideals for quickly testing a concept with customers. They require some effort to create, though are very cheap to make, yet less useful for genuine usability testing and have limited validation value.

Product Prototype: Paper Prototype (Cost / Effort / Validation ranking)

The Storyboard: A storyboard is a set of drawings that are shown in sequence to visualize a narrative of an interactive experience. 

Post-it notes, sketches and posters are your to-go-to for creating storyboards (these things are, like duct tape, multipurpose and can fix anything).

A storyboard is ideal for brainstorming scenarios of different solutions with customers and understanding what they like and dislike. A storyboard requires some effort to create, is cheap to make, and provides a bit more validation value. 

Product Prototype: Storyboard (Cost / Effort / Validation ranking)

Pretend to own it: Pretend-prototyping also known as pretotyping or Pinocchio experiment is a prototype created from a series of low-fidelity mock-ups or a non-functioning prototype, to validate if it solves the customer’s problem.

A pretend to own is ideal for generating evidence on the potential usefulness of an idea, it allows simulating the core experience of the idea. A Pretend-prototype requires effort to create, is cheap to make, and provides a bit more validation value.

Product Prototype: Pretend to own (Cost / Effort / Validation ranking)

High fidelity Prototypes

Clickable Prototype: A clickable prototype shows a visual representation of the interface, that feels and acts realistic, and helps test assumptions. As such, it goes beyond a static wireframe or mock-up.

A clickable prototype is ideal for testing the concept of a product with your customer at a higher fidelity than the paper prototype. It requires effort to create, is relatively cheap to make, and provides more validation value.

Product Prototype: Clickable Prototype (Cost / Effort / Validation ranking)

Concierge: A concierge prototype is one where product features are being imitated by a human, who is delivering the activities (and value) manually

A concierge prototype is ideal for learning the steps needed to create, capture and delivery value to a customer. It requires effort to create, is surprisingly relatively cheap to do, and provides tons of validation value

Product Prototype: Concierge (Cost / Effort / Validation ranking)

Wizard of Oz: The wizard of us is often confused with the concierge. The key differentiation is that in the Wizard of Oz the human imitating the activities is not visible to the customer

A Wizard of Oz prototype is ideal for learning the steps needed to create, capture and delivery value to a customer. It requires more effort to create, is surprisingly relatively cheap to do, and provides tons of validation value

Both the concierge and Wizard of Oz could be considered a form of Role Play prototyping.

Product Prototype: Wizard of Oz (Cost / Effort / Validation ranking)

Let’s do this

Time to go embrace your destiny, go for validation and make your prototype unforgettable!

Signing-off

Klaas Hermans for Sharpwitted.Ninja

For short reels, carrousel posts and all that Instagram stuff, follow me on Instagram

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