After having your Proof of Concept, the next step is to give your idea shape and form by creating a software prototype.
A software prototype is a model of the software before its creation.
Suppose you hire an architect who promises to build a great house, but he cannot express how it will look like.
Will you risk someone’s words for your dream project? Would you not demand a model of the final product or the building?
A software prototype is a model of the software to give an idea on how it will look like and work in the future.
There are never-ending debates on client and technology partners’ alignment when it comes to prototyping. All developers and designers are bound to design things that are directed to them by clients. Sometimes, the client has a general idea about the software that misses the system’s inputs, the processing needs, and the output requirements. All these hurdles can be clarified and rectified by using software prototypes.
It takes a lot of effort, time, human and financial resources to develop quality software and adjust it repeatedly. The prototype enables you and the designers to collaborate and synchronize better while being in the same context. Software prototypes lead to a better software model.
If you are still unsure about the stage that your project or business idea is at, we recommend you check out our Introduction to a Software Development Plan.
Tree significant advantages in building a prototype:
- One of the main benefits of the prototype is managing the project risk. The sooner you realize you’re not on the right path, the faster you will learn and change it. Remember that at this stage, there is always a chance to improve the work with minimal cost.
- You will have a better understanding of your expectations vs. reality, and you may clear all your doubts before final implementation.
- You can quickly figure out Missing Requirements and Functionalities to avoid significant changes before implementing the final product.
Four main styles or types that you can apply when asking for a Software Prototype
The throwaway prototype is “throw out” once it is finalized. In this technique, the designer quickly creates the prototype by incorporating some main functionalities in it. Once you review and accept the design, it may be reused and further improved, or it can be discarded.
Evolutionary prototypes focus more on functionality in a step-by-step manner. It is a gradual process of gathering information evolutionarily. The process results in the finalized version of the software prototype. While Throwaway is just a simple presentation to gather feedback, an evolutionary one is meant to be extended with more functionalities over time.
An incremental prototype is similar to an evolutionary prototype. It involves dividing the final prototype into pieces to be created individually step-by-step. All prototype pieces are developed entirely and merged into a single prototype. Dividing the problem into smaller ones helps to design the prototype efficiently. Due to the fact that every piece is created separately but tested simultaneously, the time interval of the prototype from development to end is reduced.
(Recommended for most software development projects)
The extreme prototype consists of three phases:
- A basic prototype with all the basic functionalities is presented in Figma, sketch, or Balsamiq or even in plain old HTML.
- The functional screens are created using a prototype service layer supported by 3rd party tools. For instance, a commonly used tool for mobile is InVision.
- All services are executed and associated with the final software prototype in the last phase of the extreme prototype development.
Software prototype not only helps clarify your vision and idea; it assists in creating a better implementation. These models are often successfully utilized for developing user interfaces, high technology software-intensive frameworks, and systems with complex algorithms and interfaces.
It is also an excellent choice to show the technical practicability of the software. TechRivo understands that there are many steps and phases involved in developing a professional software prototype and how to deal with it.
Do you feel ready to start your Software Prototype? Schedule a Free Technical Consulting Meeting. We will guide you about the next steps you should take to grow your business idea.
Here are the typical steps you need to be aware of when asking for a software prototype:
Step 1: Requirement Gathering
The requirement gathering is the very primary starting point to create a prototype
That’s where you and your technology partner identify the idea and the work that needs to be carried out, and you jointly come up with a solution.
Requirement gathering identifies all the essential knowledge from the technology to the user interface and user experience. The requirement gathering helps you to find the functionality of the software. While covering all the extensive detail about the most critical functionalities, you can also get some insight and ideas regarding software design.
Step 2: Initial software prototype development
With the initial requirements in place, your technology partner creates a basic prototype. The focus is on the general view of the software and functionality as described by you. The whole idea of the software prototype concept is to have an idea of its workings and user experience.
Step 3: Detailed software prototype development
The detailed prototype focuses on the exact functionality of the software. In this step, your technology partner uses advanced tools to provide a graphical interface of the product.
Step 4: Your Feedback
Once the prototype built, you can experience what the final software will look like. Your partner can evaluate how he has visualized your requirement by the feedback you provided. The goal of the prototype is to save you time and money by avoiding any significant changes later in the development phase. The feedback makes it easier for the developers to understand the exact requirement and to modify the requirements.
Step 5: Testing
The final step is to test the prototype and incorporate your feedback, users, and stakeholders. All kinds of inputs are collected. This valuable feedback is used further to turn the prototype into a Minimum Viable Product.
Step 6: Review and Repeat
With the accumulated feedback, you can always review and suggest changes based on various factors. As a result, changes are implemented and tested again for the prototype.
Prototyping is a critical piece in developing your product.
Although we can assist you in prototype requirements, design, and evaluation, we understand that not everyone can do a prototype. However, we believe driving customer engagement through user experience is significant if you want to later achieve a remarkable product.
Remember that we can get rid of hundreds of associated problems with design and development at a very early stage by simply having a software prototype.