4th benefit of prototyping – using it instead of traditional documentation to reduce misunderstandings and misinterpretations among teams.
All the questions and discussion about what prototyping tools is the best reminds me of a similar question among photographers. They focus so much on the right camera/lens that they forget about what’s really important. Don’t go crazy about the tools, tools are secondary, mindset and methodology – primary. Keep this in mind.
Prototyping for physical products is not that different from digital products. The cost may be a little higher due to the need of buying materials or even getting access to a 3D printer, but same process and mindset.
Sharing an example of how I use prototyping method to improve my videos.
Paper prototyping is the easiest way to start, no need for fancy tools, just use anything you have access to. If your favourite sketching notebook is not with you, use napkins from a coffee shop. Get resourceful and don’t get stuck on tools, just start creating your prototype on paper. Also, don’t use that lame excuse that you are bad at drawing. You don’t have to be! Just start sketching and after a few iterations you will notice that you are getting better and better.
Third benefit of prototyping – crystallizing your own thoughts before even showing your prototype to anyone else. Helps a lot to see where there are gaps in your own understanding. Just sketch your thoughts and I am sure you will see something that you haven’t thought through.
Second main benefit of prototyping – improving communication with the other team members. It is much more reliable to communicate your ideas and vision using something visual and tangible to minimize risk of misunderstanding.
The most important benefit of prototyping is that you can start testing with your users much earlier than waiting for the product release, which results in crucial learnings that can help you come to realization that you need to change the course of your product. This benefit will result in you saving lots of time.
Video #14. Talking about what is prototyping, a simulation or simplified version of your product with the main goal to test it with your target users (or internal stakeholders) and learn. Has to be much faster to create than the product itself, otherwise – no point.
Super important to clearly know what you want to learn before you create your prototype. What question are you trying to answer? This will guide your prototyping, the type and fidelity, and even the scope.