Prototyping can be categorized as the first step to the success of a product. Why? Because successful prototyping helps you to clearly understand what the final product will look like. It also helps identify obstacles and challenges, giving designers an opportunity to refine their designs.
The practice of prototyping is slowly moving from the physical to the digital world. This has made the prototyping stage even easier, quicker, and more efficient. However, some novice designers are skipping the prototyping process.
One of the major reasons is that students lack the knowledge of understanding why prototyping is essential in the design process. To enlighten such individuals, this blog talks about the importance of prototyping.
1. Improves the Overall Understanding of the Design
The visual medium is the best when it comes to explaining or understanding a concept or an idea. Prototyping, thus, proves beneficial to illustrate the final product to the target audience in an easy, detailed manner.
For example, graphic designers can use sports templates to create a prototype of the kit of a soccer team. They can create prototypes for the jersey, shorts, socks, and other accessories using templates quickly and easily. The prototypes created will help the decision-makers get a better understanding of how the kit will look on the players.
They can then approve the design or suggest changes based on how the prototype looks and feels.
2. Minimizes Human Error
There are many errors committed by designers in the design process. The errors can go unnoticed from the radar of even the most watchful eyes. This can lead to a design failure and fiasco later on. It can also result in a huge embarrassment for the business.
Prototyping provides a chance to identify such mistakes and reduce design errors. The designers can keep making changes and produce new prototype versions to create a flawless product in the end.
For example, imagine designing a truck only to realize that the backseats are too short after they are shipped to the consumer. This will force the business to recall every single truck shipped. This will lead to massive tangible and intangible losses to the company.
3. Enhances Collaboration and Communication
One of the biggest advantages of the prototyping step in the design process is that it enhances collaboration and communication between various stakeholders.
For example, if many designers are working on a project, they can collaborate seamlessly to enhance the final product. They can communicate their ideas and concepts with each other more clearly when they have a physical product for reference. They can also check whether their ideas can be implemented or not.
In short, prototyping enhances collaboration and communication. This, ultimately, ensures that the product the designers are creating serves its purpose.
4. Reduces the Time and Cost of Design
As the collaboration and communication are enhanced along with a reduction in human error, the time and costs involved are reduced significantly.
This proves beneficial for the client as well as the graphic designer. For example, businesses can complete the project quickly and can dedicate the saved time and resources to other processes. Similarly, they can use the saved money on other operations.
Graphic designers, too, can use the time saved on other projects. They can earn extra income by working on other projects. Moreover, they can also save on their investment costs.
Most of the prototyping design can be done easily with free or cost-effective software like AutoCAD. Although the annual subscription costs $1,586 per year, designers can earn a similar amount with one project that can be completed in a day or two.
5. Enables Customer Feedback
Prototyping enables businesses to gather direct, focused feedback from the target audience and the customer. Businesses can implement the feedback and keep making iterations to the prototype.
The end result is that the final product turns out to be one that meets the target audience’s needs and expectations.
Moreover, prototyping helps keep the customer curious, interested, and engaged till the final product is revealed. This can help with product marketing and, ultimately, sales.
The Tesla Cybertruck is a great example of how a prototype can help in marketing and sales. The hype around the automobile hasn’t died since it was first unveiled in 2019. Around three million customers have already pre-ordered the Cybertruck based only on the prototype.
6. Provides Quality Assurance
Prototyping enables user testing and feedback. This, in turn, enables businesses to find out any issues or flaws that might be present in the product. They can also make changes to the product based on user recommendations and suggestions.
Businesses can, thus, develop robust quality assurance testing methods and standards for final product production. This ensures that the final product delivered to the customer passes all the quality checks and is of the highest quality. The customer has a flawless experience using the final product and is satisfied.
This quality assurance helps with customer retention and also helps attract new customers.
Types of Prototyping Businesses Can Use in the Design Process
There are several categories of prototypes that businesses can use in the design process. The four main types of prototyping are discussed below.
This prototyping method involves printing or hand-drawing representation of the product.
This prototyping method shows the size and appearance of the final product. But, it does not show its functionality.
This method shows the functionality of the final product but not the appearance.
This prototyping method shows the full appearance and the functionality of the final product.
Prototyping provides many benefits to businesses and graphic designers alike. It can be used in almost any business environment. Businesses can choose any of the prototyping methods mentioned above based on their needs.
Recently, technologies like 3D printing are helping bring down the cost of prototyping. Even small businesses can now cost-effectively create product prototypes. Thus, now is the right time to take advantage of the benefits of prototyping in your business.