A lot of start-ups make the mistake of trying to build a fully functional app. Most start-ups tend to focus on things they do best which normally results in building an app that nobody will use. This does not only take long to build but it also cost a lot of money to build. So whats the best way to prevent building a wrong product and also spending a lot of money before building a fully functional product? This is where rapid prototyping and user-centered design (feedback) come in.
I believe that your product is only as good as the feedback that helped to build it. Rapid prototyping allows you to quickly create a product to validate your assumptions and conduct user feedback sessions. It allows you to not just imagine a product, but to make it real.
You should have two phases of prototyping. The first phase is design. At this phase, the main focus includes zero coding. Once you are done and confident with design, that’s when you can move to the second phase of rapid prototyping. The second phase is the building of the app. At this phase, the most important thing is to minimise the time through each cycle, to iterate as fast as possible and get as much feedback as you can.
Below are two main advantages of rapid prototyping
1) Reduced time and costs:
Prototyping can improve the quality of requirements and specifications provided to developers. Because changes cost exponentially more to implement as they are detected later in development, the early determination of what the user really wants can result in faster and less expensive software.
2) Improved and increased user involvement:
Prototyping requires user involvement and allows them to see and interact with a prototype allowing them to provide better and more complete feedback and specifications. The presence of the prototype being examined by the user prevents many misunderstandings and miscommunications that occur when each side believe the other understands what they said. Since users know the problem domain better than anyone on the development team does, increased interaction can result in a final product that has greater tangible and intangible quality. The final product is more likely to satisfy the user’s desire for look, feel and performance.