A good product design attracts a larger audience, improves sales, and gives you a competitive advantage over your rivals. But it all starts with improving and optimizing the product design development process. You can do this through prototyping. Creating a prototype is the first phase in the process of launching a product into the market.
It helps to reveal hidden issues and unforeseen challenges in product design. It also provides an initial look and feel that you can see and examine. This is better than waiting until the end of the production process to determine whether your product will work. But if you’re unsure how prototyping can benefit your product design process, read on to learn six compelling reasons how it helps.
What Is Product Prototyping?
A prototype is a working but incomplete version of a product. You can use it for testing, gathering feedback, or presenting it to investors before taking the product into the market. Before you invest your resources in mass production, you can develop a prototype to test a design’s viability and make any necessary revisions early enough.
You can make your prototype as simple or as complex as you want it to be using a prototyping tool. You can even make a high-fidelity version of a completed product that you can rapidly finalize and deliver to the market. The factors that affect the scale of your prototype include the available resources, experience in building prototypes, and your project goals.
How Prototyping Improves Product Design
Creating a prototype lets you bring your idea to life with something that you can visualize, check for strengths and weaknesses, and develop or improve a better and more competitive design. Here are the ways prototypes improve your design:
- Discovering Design Flaws Early
When you have a design on your computer or paper, it’s not easy to identify and notice problems on a design. But when you create a prototype, you can see, touch, and hold a mock-up of your product design and examine it more closely. You can determine the design aspects that are working right and the areas that could do with some improvement.
With a prototype, you can also accurately collect feedback from your teams, partners, and associates. This promotes the development of a better design with more precise requirements. You can test it with a smaller audience to get an idea of how they engage with the product and the expectations.
Ultimately, a prototype’s most valuable feature is being a near-perfect representation of the final product. By utilizing it, you have something to use for enticing buyers to invest in your product before devoting any resources to its development. By being able to test your product before it goes into production, design flaws could jeopardize the entire project.
- Better Product Development Planning
While developing a prototype, your teams get valuable information to help can better plan the steps they need to take in the actual product development. A prototype can help you and your team gather user stories and focus on developing a product according to user needs. Because you can consider a prototype to be a model for your project specification, it assists you in planning better before you start on the actual product design.
Having an interactive prototype aids the production process and provides a clearer understanding of how you must plan out the interaction of the design components. The design team can convey the message more clearly through a prototype, but more specifically, it gives you a chance to plan for the future.
- Generation Of New Ideas
You, stakeholders, and users have a vision of the product that needs to be realized. They’re hoping and silently wishing that the final product captures this vision somehow. By presenting a prototype, you allow every player an opportunity to see the product from a different perspective. When there’s something to reference, the feedback focuses on the desired features against the original ideas.
When you have a fully functional prototype, you can easily incorporate new ideas that align with the wants and needs of customers as well as the needs of the business. This is in addition to getting a sense of the product design’s direction before the market launch.
- Improving Product Integrity
Testing your product’s integrity is critical to its final quality, and a prototype allows you to check both the base structure and the functionality of your products. You can check if any weakness will cause problems in the final product and improve where necessary. You’ll be able to fix issues right away and avoid the costs of re-doing a finished product.
That way, you make a more sustainable design and durable product as you’re able to examine whether the materials you’re using and the design will stand the test of time. If not, you have a chance to change and develop a better product for the market.
- Optimizing The Cost Of Production
You can use prototypes to understand better how much material is required to mass produce your product, which helps you determine the true cost-per-unit. You can also use it to look for ways to save costs without compromising quality and efficiency. Look at your processes and see if you can condense any procedures to reduce the cost of raw material, equipment, or labor.
- Resolving Design Conflicts
If for some reason, your engineering team had a conflict on some design issues, prototyping helps to make apparent which features are most suited for the product. This way, you’re able to improve the design, and you end up with a desirable and competitive product in the market.
Your goal in product development is to release the best possible product design into the market. You can use prototyping to help you plan for mass production by allowing you to test your design before presenting it to the market adequately. The process also helps you discover design flaws and correct them early enough in the design process. You can generate new ideas to improve the quality and functionality of the product. In addition, you can optimize the entire production process, including costs.