If you want to develop your product quickly and launch it on the market ahead of the competition, you should follow rapid development principles and start with an MVP. But before you dig into coding, you need to have a design. And that’s where rapid prototyping will help you.

Rapid prototyping doesn’t necessarily mean that you draw even faster than usual. Though we assume that your designers draw pretty quickly. Rapid prototyping means iterative approach to creating UX and UI of the products. 

Before you get to design the real stuff, you start with mockups. The earlier the stage, the simpler they should be. You start with testing the general idea of the product and its core functionality, the critical function that will be used most often. You can focus on the details once you have them. Then you present it to prospective users and other stakeholders. Like board members, you need to convince get your project green-lit. 

Over time your design becomes more and more advanced and eventually, you get to the final version. But the principles of the process don’t change much and there are 3 main stages you will repeat.

Stage 1: prototyping

That’s exactly that. You start with creating a visual mock-up. In this case, the saying „starting with a clean slate” can be taken literally, as the earliest prototypes can be even drawn on a piece of paper. As you progress, you will depart drawings for wireframes, and then you go with prototypes – from lo-fi to detailed ones with the graphical design you want to use in final products.

Stage 2 – sharing and reviewing

As you have your prototype ready, you then show it to all the stakeholders in your project. Be it a selected sample of your users, board of directors you need to convince or whoever should influence the shape of the final product. You then evaluate it, listen to them and take notes.

Stage 3 – refining

Did you gather feedback in the previous stage? Great! Now make sure that you understand it clearly, identify the areas that need to be improved, and then turn it into a list of refinements you need to do. Having all that done, you then return to the prototyping stage. Based on the list of the changes that have to be done, you either start over with your sketch or proceed to draw a more advanced mock-up.

Why would you do this?

There are several benefits coming from adapting the rapid prototyping approach. At the end of the day, you will create better designs that your users will like more and therefore they will be more likely to use your product. 

First of all, you will receive feedback earlier. This way you can address design flaws and other issues at the beginning, without having to change a single line of code and risking more bugs, and even taking a technological debt. And it’s just quicker.

The other reason is also pretty obvious. It’s about financing. From our earlier post, you know that MVPs can help you secure funding from venture capital firms or just the board of your company. The same goes for prototypes. Sometimes all you need is just the visualization of the idea, without even having a working app with capabilities limited to a single core feature. 

At this point, you can clearly see a similarity between MVPs and early prototypes done with rapid principles in mind. That’s because they are similar. And different at the same time. An MVP is a product, something you can launch on the market and even monetize. You probably won’t be able to do the same with just a mock-up. 

The other thing is that rapid prototyping is a work methodology, a process. And you can utilize it while developing an MVP. But you can, and should, use it also in later stages, for example when adding new features to your product.

Rapid development and therefore rapid prototyping is also our way of developing products. If you want to talk about how we can help you create your own MVP, developing UX and UI for your app, and help your company become more agile, feel free to contact us!