TEST AND DEVELOP
How to get your product to market on time and on budget
John’s combination of creative design, user experience and interface development married with technical know-how makes him ideally suited to application and software prototyping.
He has been producing prototypes for 20 years. In recent years the advancement in technologies has allowed him to hone his techniques to offer fully interactive models.
An application prototype or software prototype is not a fully working model, but an expression of concepts and ideas on to which a final product are built. It tests the core principles, structure, designs, flow and usability of the application. It will appear exactly like an application, but of course, lacking the real (to be developed) functionality.
Prototyping is an essential part of any application or software development. It will define, or assist in:
- The look and feel of the application
- Demonstrate how different screens should connect or interact
- Reveal potential issues or uncertainties at an early stage
- Clearly define the scope of the development
- Provide clear visual instructions for the developers
Given that the creative treatment can be highly subjective, prototypes give all stakeholders the opportunity to be involved in the creative process. Feedback can be provided on a general or screen-by-screen basis by simply making comments within a purpose-built third-party application. The prototype may be adjusted, modified, and updated as many times as necessary without incurring large development costs.
Prototypes provide focus
A carefully selected focus group can provide valuable user feedback. Clear goals and objectives should be established so that the feedback is clear, concise, and meets project objectives.
This early stage of testing will generate real thoughts and ideas from the kind of people who will ultimately become the end-user.
Prototypes help to control costs and maintain delivery schedule
Everyone wants to control their budgets. Initial fixed cost quotes are often hard to judge, and will likely be subject to overrun and additional cost. It is often the case that a developer expands on the concept and effectively writes the brief on behalf of the client. This has a major disadvantage in that there is no moderator between the client and the developer. The two parties rarely speak the same language and a brief can be very open to interpretation, from both sides.
A prototype helps with this by providing a clear, visual representation of what is required. As a consultant designer and developer, John will usually work between the client and the development company to ensure everything is understood and to keep a close eye on the project and its development.
How prototypes can save the day if things go wrong with your developer
A prototype is given to a developer as a key part of their brief. It will show what the application is going to look like and how it will work. The prototype removes the ambiguity if a written brief. The developer can walk through the application and get a real feel for how it should work. In turn, they will have the opportunity to provide input or flag any potential issues.
In disputes resolution or even litigation, prototypes are far easier to understand than reams of product specification. They can be understood by a lay-person which is key to good moderation.
If you are planning to use an off-shore developer a prototypes clarity transcends any language or cultural misunderstandings.