What is Digital Prototyping? Why it Could be a Great Idea for your Business
Imagine you have an idea for a new product, website, or app. Bringing your concept to life requires steps to develop the look and feel, refine the design, reevaluate concepts, and fine-tune the functionality of a finished product. The feedback, troubleshooting, and unpredictable changes required for a flawless execution of your idea are crucial developmental elements of product activation. When a visual depiction of your idea in the form of an adaptable digital rendering can save time and resources in production, digital prototyping may be the solution.
What Is Prototyping?
Prototyping is the process of using technology to create a lifelike rendering of a given product. Current systems and technology have advanced to the point where individuals cannot detect the difference between a digital prototype and "the real thing". It is an essential part of the product development cycle.
Prototyping can be used for a variety of purposes including:
- Prior to scale manufacturing, prototypes are developed in order to evaluate the look and feel of a product, how it will operate, and troubleshoot any issues prior to embarking on formal production.
- In the fundraising or pre-sale stage of bringing a new product to market, potential buyers and investors can experience a lifelike preview of the product that will demonstrate its potential in the form of a digital prototype.
- Though the product may not be available in a tangible form, digital prototypes can allow individuals to preview 2D and 3D versions of the finished product.
- Prototypes can be used to make merchandising decisions by both manufacturers and buyers, for example, by seeing how the final product might look in a retail store next to competitors.
- Virtual reality (VR) prototypes can be used to allow consumers to experience how an item can exist in their space before making a purchase. VR prototyping has been used to preview how furniture can look in a home or office space, as well as virtually “trying on” clothes and accessories.
- Website prototyping like wireframing can save time and resources in website development by providing a visual framework of what the end product will be.
- The ability to receive feedback on prototypes while building a website, app, or other digital product saves time through the ability to edit design and layout prior to spending hours on development.
The Business Benefits of Prototyping
By creating a product or demonstrating a service in the digital or virtual world prior to executing formal production or manufacturing, we have an opportunity to gather insights that ultimately save time and money in the long run. This ultimately saves time and money in the long run when end-users and teams have opportunities to:
- Conduct UX and UI research that secures valuable feedback
- Test the functionality of the end product
- Share the concept more easily with decision-makers and investors
- Find potential errors
- Allow for fine-tuning designs
- Gather collaborative feedback from team members
- Test variations at low cost
When prototyping tangible, physical goods like products and packaging, digital prototyping allows for:
- Interactive experience of a finished good prior to manufacturing
- Insights into production and materials costs, manufacturing requirements, elements of assembly, and potential for errors
- Previewing design and engineering elements to ensure flawless fit and finish
- Durability testing - think of this as the "crash test dummy" of product design
- Advancing in the marketing, funding, and go-to-market process earlier because the prototypes can accurately demonstrate the look and functionality of the finished product
We Live in the Digital Age, Take Full Advantage!
Whether you’re working to develop a website, app, product or interactive service, being able to evaluate the design and functionality of a new idea before finalizing the end product allows teams to avoid costly errors and subsequent revisions. The time spent testing through a prototype is an investment that will instill confidence in the finished product, and allow you to generate interest and drive demand. The usefulness of a digital prototype is a step that will ultimately save time and resources in the long run allowing for a smooth and stress-free product launch. Consider the role of prototyping in your next creative project by working with JUICE, an agency fluent in all things digital and design, who can bring your vision to life.