As the mobile app market has grown and the number of start-ups and incubators has grown along with it, prototyping software is as important now as it’s ever been. There are many prototyping software products available, but you will want to identify which products will best fit your needs. Prototyping is meant to be cheap, easy and fast. Although many prototyping software programs will do a satisfactory job, it’s important to use the programs that will use your time most efficiently, so that you can quickly move to the next stage in development.
Before the advent of computer technology and programming, prototyping was not as pervasive as a universal method of development. However, once companies began programming, they realized how prototyping was an important way to reduce unnecessary costs.
The alternative to prototyping is to move immediately from design to development. In this approach, an individual or team will think of a new technology or idea and then immediately begin working on the product itself. As they work, they will make necessary adjustments. Once the product is finished, they will do more comprehensive testing and make changes to improve the product. The problem with this approach is it can be extremely costly. Major design problems are not always discovered until the product is finished, and then it will be very expensive to make changes or start over. This wastes time and money, and can be avoided by prototyping more fully.
Using a prototyping approach, you can test out ideas from the beginning. If something doesn’t work, or doesn’t work well enough, it can be tweaked until it meets your standards. This can save large amounts of money because you will not start development until you have a more fully realized concept. You will also save time because you won’t have to worry about starting over once the product has already been developed.
Another key advantage of prototyping is that it facilitates better communication and teamwork between the developers and the client. If you are developing a website or program for someone else, it is important that you have a final product that meets their expectations and is close to what they imagined when contracting you. By rigorously prototyping, you can keep the client closely involved in the initial planning and development. Your client will be thankful for the opportunity for communication and feedback, and you will get constant confirmation that you are designing the product to their specifications.
Rigorous prototyping can also be a breeding ground for new ideas and synergies. If you move very quickly to development and invest in a design and concept right away, you close yourself off to making new discoveries. When you prototype and tinker, you give yourself more opportunities for breakthroughs. You may realize additional uses for your software or complementary functions and capabilities that may result in a much stronger final product. A prototype may reveal insights that you never would have discovered if you had begun development immediately, and if you realize these ideas later in development, it may be too late to add them to the product.
Nowadays most developers across industries and sectors use prototyping when starting a new project. Because of its widespread use and popularity, there are many prototyping software products available. Many are web-based and free. Prototyping is all about maximizing your initial planning time, so you will want to try a few different programs and see which feels most natural to you. Most programs are designed to be easy to use, but each has its own style and is best suited for different types of people.
Generally, you can divide prototyping software into two different groups. There are the software products for initial planning and demonstration, and then there are more interactive wire-framing products for creating more sophisticated prototypes.
Demonstration software is a good way to organize your ideas when you want to get feedback or show them to potential investors. These types of programs will not create a usable website, but they will create dynamic presentations that show how your concept will look and work. These programs are typically very easy to use and can create a presentation in very little time. With this presentation, you can approach potential investors and look for funding.
Wireframing software uses templates, widgets, and drag-and-drop components to create a realistic mockup. More than just a presentation, this can be a clickable prototype that demonstrates how a website will look and feel. This is a more sophisticated prototype, and though it takes more time to create, it will give you a better idea of how your website will work, and can help you further refine your concept and design. Whichever type of software you decide to use, remember that you want a product that has ease of use, flexibility, and communicability. Try out some different software programs, and you will find one that works best for you.
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