“If a picture is worth 1000 words, a prototype is worth 1000 meetings.”
-Tom and David Kelley
The word prototype comes from the Greek words protos + typos meaning “the first impression”.
But today prototypes aren’t just limited to first impressions.
Prototypes have now evolved to include a wide range that showcases a close rendering of the product you are ultimately going to launch.
In the previous article, we discussed Paper Prototype. The following statement tells us the importance of Paper Prototypes:
This article talks about the next step in design thinking – Interactive Prototyping. Interactive prototypes are to be built after building and testing various iterations of non-interactive prototypes (sketch, paper, wireframe, etc)
What’s important to note here is that we are talking about various iterations of non-interactive prototypes before we jump onto interactive prototypes. As we refine the non-interactive prototypes to reach a finer version of the interface we move up the design ladder.
The following illustration of exploration vis-a-vis prototyping fidelity will explain why:
Non-interactive prototypes focus on the interface and not on the interaction. They do not test the performance but test the usability.
Adding interactivity to the static interface represented by the non-interactive prototype helps us test the performance of the interface.
An interactive prototype is a closer version of the final product. It is highly functional, costly, and takes longer to build compared to non-interactive prototypes. It mimics the interactivity that users can have with the final product.
WHY INTERACTIVE PROTOTYPE?
HOW TO MAKE AN INTERACTIVE PROTOTYPE?
Adding interactivity to prototypes generally requires the use of one or more tools. These tools assist us in bringing the prototype closer to the final version. They allow multiple iterations until the product reaches a point where the developer and the user can meet.
There are a plethora of tools online and choosing one out of these abundant choices is not an easy task. Multiple factors are to be considered before landing on the right tool.
However, it’s important to remind ourselves that the design is the primary focus and not the tool. Tools exist to support the design process and not the other way round.
FACTORS TO CONSIDER BEFORE CHOOSING THE RIGHT TOOL:
Build Non-Interactive Prototypes based on Ideation and Scenarios.
Iterate through them based on user feedback until you reach the most refined version.
Add Interactivity to the finalized Non-Interactive Prototype to build an Interactive Prototype, with the use of prototyping tools.
This article is a part of a series of articles that explain design thinking. To read other articles in this series check out Art Attackk other blog posts.