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    Why Designers Should Never Skip Prototyping

    24 November 2020

    A prototype is a draft design that designers create before starting to build the original design layout. It shows the structure of the main site and shows the interrelation of the main pages by working as a site map. It helps to significantly reduce the development time of the site. 

    Many designers believe that prototyping is unnecessary when they can actually make the final product without it. But this is the wrong way to view things. Prototyping can really be helpful while designing complex products. It is a crucial step in product design. Most final products are complicated and difficult to change. 

    Spending some time on planning and testing a prototype can give the designers a chance to seek out the problems people may face while coming in contact with the real design. It creates a common design language that helps everyone: designers, developers, and clients to understand the interaction and suggest changes without having to go through much trouble. 

    Here we will discuss how prototyping helps designers to create smarter design pattern and collaborate with developers-

    Got a design pattern? Plan it out:

    Design patterns are not limited to visual designs, they also include process patterns. While defining process patterns, designers need to make several design decisions. You will not know what decision will be right unless you learn to think from the users’ points of view. Prototyping will give you the opportunity to step in the shoes of users so you know what steps to take. 

    Developers need an explanation of the system in which the designers wish to design the process pattern. Prototyping is the best way of communicating with developers. It helps developers with the design decisions, which indicates that they themselves will have fewer decisions to make. It will work as a guide for them so that they will not miss any critical steps. 

    Think through the process:

    Prototypes allow you to work both visually and interactively with the design. Not only you will see the realistic version of your design, but also you will use it. While you are looking into the prototype and walking through it, you will find many design decisions that aren’t right or working as neatly as you thought it would. By questioning the assumptions that you thought would work before, you will be able to make better decisions. It is a creative way of taking UI pattern decisions. 

    Design patterns remove guesswork:

    Most of the descriptions given to the developers are texted-based. This way the developers get a rough idea of what to build. It can get really confusing for the developers and they may be left with to take a final decision. It is the duty of a designer to come up with as many possible exceptions and make a decision. A designer must show the developers how the design works. The developer’s duty is to code, to make the product mobile-friendly, having to decide how the product will behave may be a lot more than they should take on their plates. Prototypes can paint a clear picture of what the designers want, and they can take all the necessary decisions before handing the prototype to the developers. 

    User testing: insights you can’t ignore:

    Prototyping is the best way of finding the users’ insights on a product. Building a flawed product can be frustrating. Prototyping and user testing can save you from that trouble. With a prototype, the users will be able to test and find out the flaws of a product before you finally build it and release it to the market. 

    Prepare yourself to test prototypes:

    Usability testing is extremely important because your typical users are not as tech-savvy as a designer or a developer. Developers will think you made the right decision and code the product you handed them. So, it is important that you do make the right decision because otherwise, you may end up launching a flawed product in the market.

    People who are not related to your product system is a great way of testing whether you are using the appropriate pattern to solve a design problem. You need to get out of the way of the users who are testing your prototype and: 

    -Be prepared to abandon the design if it is found to be complicated for the users. 

    -Watch the users find ways around your design and learn about new workflows and point-patterns that you never considered before.

    -Listen to the users carefully. If they find something complicated, it is probable that they will not say that directly. Rather they will ask questions using “why” and “how”. 

     

    Next steps:

    Now that you know the importance of prototyping, you should go ahead and learn more about how you can do it. Making a high fidelity prototype will be beneficial to both designers and users. It allows the product to be built in an understandable and comfortable to use way.