Did you ever use prototyping along with your web design activities? If not, you may be missing out! Prototyping can help you discover how much faster the design process can be.
Moreover, it can show you how much time and money you’ll save by catching design errors and omissions early. Plus, you may experience noticeable improvements in the quality of your finished products.
Prototypes show you what’s working, and what isn’t. They present you with necessary and/or desirable design modification options. Prototyping helps to ensure that your finished product will be error-free. It also will exhibit the precise look and feel your client expects.
The quality of the prototypes you build is also important. This is one reason why you should select powerful, feature-rich tools like these:
Proto.io gives you an added bonus of being able to create your design on the same platform on which you are building your prototypes. That only makes sense, even though many prototyping tools lack this feature.
This makes having a tool like this an absolute must for web designers, and Proto.io is a useful tool for developers as well. Since it requires no design or coding skills to work with, and is so easy to use, product managers can also find many uses for it.
You can start your design and prototyping activities from scratch using Proto.io’s iOS, Android, Windows, and Watch OS UI components, or import your Sketch or Photoshop design files. You can create prototypes at whatever level of fidelity you want, and make them interactive by incorporating touch or mouse events, automated screen transitions, and other features.
You can use the single-click sharing feature to share a prototype, and you can view it on your web browser, or download the free Proto.io app for iOS and Android to view it on selected devices.
With Design Systems by UXPin, you can prototype, create a design system, generate documentation, and hand off to developers in one place. The collaborative platform also allows for real-time design in the same project.
In our experience, UXPin is the only “all-in-one” tool that doesn’t just help with prototyping, but also handles the bigger problems of UX consistency and unifying UX and development.
Its design systems feature is a pretty compelling differentiator. It’s more than just a pattern library – you can attach documentation to elements which follow in your projects. That means the “source of truth” is always available anywhere. And you can build the design system with Sketch or UXPin.
The automated development handoff and automated documentation capabilities are also quite handy. You can generate specifications, CSS, and style for anything in UXPin or imported from Sketch.
UXPin currently integrates with Sketch, Photoshop, Jira, and Slack.
Getting the look, feel and usability right at the start of your projects is of huge importance, and our third recommendation – FluidUI.com – is loaded with everything you need to build interactive prototypes, from simple wireframes to high fidelity websites and mobile apps.
Fluid UI combines design features such as extensive built-in component libraries, the ability to upload your existing designs, add gestures and animations, with communications features such as collaborative team design, video calling, chat, annotations and comments.
You can design in your browser or with a downloadable desktop app, and test on web or mobile using their preview apps – incredibly useful for understanding how your design will eventually work.
Fluid UI offers a lifetime “Free Forever” plan, a free trial, high quality live chat support and allows you to save all your projects without being charged a monthly free unlike other tools. A highly recommended option!
Why Prototyping is so Important
When you have a great concept for a website in mind, it’s tempting to dive right in. You want to start designing while the concept is still fresh in your mind.
Unless you check where you’re at from time to time, the final design may not perform as hoped. Moreover, you might even have drifted completely off course.
Prototyping is an excellent method for testing your ideas as you go, and for other reasons as well.
- Progressive or evolving prototypes help you check your design as is
Maintaining a progression of iterative prototypes may seem like extra work. But it’s an excellent way to keep your project on track. Doing so will generally save you time in the long run.
- A prototype can show you what works well, what works not so well, and what doesn’t work at all.
Even the best design ideas can contain a fatal flaw, and even the best will have imperfections. Low-fidelity prototypes often uncover the major problems. The higher-fidelity prototypes root out problems of a more minor nature.
- High-fidelity prototypes are useful for uncovering and resolving problems that could negatively affect a site’s UX.
An example is user testing. It is your last chance to uncover problems before your design goes into development. Fixing problems that late in the game can be quite expensive.
- Prototypes are natural vehicles for sharing design information.
Premier prototyping tools, like those described here, support collaboration with team members and clients. Design reviews tend to be more effective, and take less time; especially when interactive prototypes are used, and when design changes can be accomplished in real time.
Premier prototyping tools support collaboration with team members and clients. Design reviews tend to be more effective and take less time. This is especially when interactive prototypes are used. Also, when design changes can be accomplished in real time.
As you have seen, a good prototyping tool is worth its weight in gold. Even more so if it directly supports your design and collaboration activities.
You can save a lot of time by checking the current state of your design against expectations. The time (and money) saved by catching errors before you hand a project over to a developer can sometimes be huge.