Na product development phase, it is common for the entrepreneur to get lost in different concepts. Since there are several types of prototype, it must understand its characteristics and what they consist of. From a sketch on a piece of paper to a more detailed representation of the product to be developed, the options are immense.
Thus, one must consider the objective, the level of design and the resources that are available as criteria for choosing the kind of prototype to develop. For this, at an early stage it is necessary to understand the concept of loyalty.
Fidelity refers to the level of detail and functionality included in prototype, which may vary in terms of visual, content, interactivity and other areas. With this, a prototype can vary between two levels:
Prototype low fidelity
It is a not very realistic version of the final product. The priority here is to verify and test the functionalities rather than the visual appearance. The characteristics of this kind of prototype focus on the following criteria: ·
- Visual: only some visual attributes are presented, such as the shapes of the elements, basic visual hierarchy, among others;
- Content: only the main elements of the content are included;
- Interactivity: everything is static, requiring a person to manipulate the different pages. During a test, it is common for a person familiar with this design to act as a computer and make the necessary changes manually in order to convey the intention.
The main advantages of the preparation and use of these types of prototype are the fact that they are cheap and fast. In addition, it contributes to team work by passing on the same perspective of the project. On the other hand, the main disadvantage is the very limited interactivity and, consequently, requires a high degree of imagination on the part of the stakeholders. The most popular low-fidelity prototyping techniques are those developed on paper and wireframes.
It is a more realistic version of the final product with the majority of integrated components. They are highly functional and interactive, and can lead many users or other interested parties to think that it is, in fact, the final product. The characteristics of this kind of prototype focus on the following criteria:
- Visual: realistic and detailed design of all elements and functionalities;
- Content: most or all of the content that will appear in the final design is included in the prototype;
- Interactivity: highly realistic in the interactions between the pages and clicking on the right sections makes the pages transition naturally.
The main advantages of the preparation and use of these types of prototype are the ease of demonstrating the idea to interested parties (customers, investors, among others) and the possibility of usability testing in order to determine whether customers have a natural navigation flow or not. On the other hand, the main disadvantage is that it involves higher costs, both in time and money, for the creation of a prototype of high fidelity. The most popular low-fidelity prototyping technique is mockups.
Based on fidelity and its interactivity variations, the entrepreneur can choose the technique to adopt to prepare his prototype.
O prototype on paper is a great way to start visualizing ideas. Thus, the first approaches to the product are outlined without having to resort to a digital tool. This is the simplest technique that exists and consists of drawing by hand different screens that represent the product's user interfaces.
It is very useful especially in the early stages of the project as the entire work team can contribute as it is not necessary to have any specific skills. In addition, it allows to detect possible problems early, making it easier to make the necessary changes and adjustments at this stage. It can also be useful as documentation, serving as a reference for future iterations.
Also it should be noted that these prototypes they are not suitable for more visually complex or highly interactive operations or functions as it is all done statically.
A wireframe is a visual representation of the architecture of how the final object (interface, web page, model, etc.) will be in accordance with the defined specifications. In the simplest way possible, the project elements are organized through geometric shapes and lines without any type of color or image, thus showing only the essentials.
This sketch can be static, made manually, or interactive, using software creating a prototype closer to reality, with some interactions and animations but still without any kind of color, visual identity or content.
Thus, the main advantage of using this technique is the ease of changing the produced layouts. Therefore, it helps the development team to prepare the project faster, more standardized and more efficiently.
One Click Dummy is a prototype interactive part of the project to be developed where certain relevant characteristics of the final product are already included. Here, to test the main navigation flows and scenarios before their real implementation, these interactions and processes are simulated through fictitious clicks.
Click Dummy represents a sequence of interactions based on a logical screen flow where it focuses on creating and testing the rudimentary flow of the project. The person who tests these types of prototype it operates as if it were actually using the final product or service, thus getting a first impression of the possible final result.
The main advantage of this technique is that it can be applied especially to validate interactions with users or interested parties as they convey a good understanding of reality. In this way, the real product or service can be adjusted according to the real needs of the users.
It is defined as a full-size or scaled model or representation of a project. It provides a higher level of fidelity than the other techniques presented in this document, with details about the visual design, such as colors, images, typography, size, which are very close to the final product.
A mockup is the most common form of high-fidelity prototyping and there are several specialized software that allows the creation of prototypes interactive effects smells and complex animations. This technique appears at the end of the low-fidelity phase and at the beginning of the high-fidelity phase, which means that it can be developed in a static yet more sophisticated version than the other techniques or in a fully interactive version.
The main advantages of using this technique are the easiness of visualization for the interested parties (users, investors), it transmits a realistic perspective about the final product/service helping to identify problems that can be ignored in prototypes developed on paper for example, and the ease of making changes or revisions at this stage than at a later stage.