Eight good reasons for digital prototyping

Prototyping is a great approach for getting started with any new digital development and for making rapid progress. We all know it makes sense. But if you need to make the case for prototyping, have you thought of all the possible reasons?

Here’s a set of reasons, some of which might apply to your situation.

1. Freedom to experiment

Freedom to try things out and to discover what doesn’t work without a high cost.

2. Disruption

Disrupt business-as-usual thinking. Break away from the legacy of what’s in place right now.

3. Collaboration

Get your team working together – talking together, solving problems together, listening to new ideas, evaluating ideas. A prototype is a new thing so it helps to break down the organisational hierarchies around existing products.

4. Testing

Test early and then keep testing. Get users to interact with tangible representations of your ideas early on in the design cycle.

5. Learning

Learn as you do. Learn as you test. Learn as you iterate. The process of prototyping can also help you get to know the strengths and weaknesses of your team.

6. Prioritisation

You want to figure out your design priorities. Prototyping can help you do that.

7. Selling

Sell your ideas to stakeholders. Show something rather than talk or write about it.

8. Build confidence

Work together. Build something fast. Create and do. What better way is there to build confidence?

Objection handling

OK. So you’ve made a great case but what objections might you get? Here are three common objections and some responses.

Objection 1: Why do you want to create something that will be thrown away?
The ideas, the evidence, the changed minds, the knowledge, the confidence, the ways of doing things – none of that will be thrown away.

Objection 2: We can’t afford to take the web team away from their desks for days at a time.
We’ll cover genuine emergencies. Everything else we’ll schedule or reschedule. If we are going to invest in the future there is no avoiding the fact that we need to spend some time on working out what we are going to do and how. If we don’t invest we will fall behind.

Objection 3: Why do we need to spend money on external facilitators? Surely we’ve got the expertise in-house?
Use in-house people if you can, but if you need to build confidence, disrupt the day-to-day or kick-start something new, bringing someone in from the outside could be the most efficient and effective way to do it. Also, an outsider should be able to introduce new ideas and new working practices, so there’s a learning opportunity too.

Factors for digital prototyping success

In my next article I’ll talk about some of the factors that you will want to consider as you plan your prototyping.

  • It’s funny, where I work, we never have to make the case for prototyping, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in the cross hairs defending prototyping against those who consider it “throw away code” that we need to eliminate. I really love your response to objection 1. If you don’t mind, I’d like to feature this article on http://thelink.design/ and link to your article for subscribers of “The Link” to discover.