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LP Tools For Prototyping

Imagine you have built your final product or service and you are ready with your business plan. Now, you are thinking of pitching your idea, showing your product and discussing your plan with investors to get funding. The investor asks you a question. “How can you say your product or service will succeed?” Here is where the concept of rapid prototyping comes in.

A prototype is an early sample, model, or release of a product or a service built to test a concept or process. Prototyping gives a realistic form to your idea or solution. The process is like a cycle. You start by creating your first prototype and then go out to understand what your potential customers and users think about it and get feedback. You come back and then analyse the feedback given by them on your prototype. Considering the analysis, you improve your prototype, such as making its features, aesthetics, functionality etc. better. After improving it, you again go out and get feedback.

This process provides you with guidance and investors with proof of concept. Prototyping helps get insights that would not be possible otherwise. This is because you are finally showing something to end-users and not just sharing an idea or interviewing them. You start getting a clearer picture about what should work and what people like and this in turn helps you focus on specific needs of the users. Early prototyping starts with really simple materials such as 2D sketches, storyboards, cardboard, paper, tape, thread etc. Even creating a video explaining the concept could serve as a prototype. The idea here is to make simple representations and learn from them. It is not to select the best prototype but to develop one. When you create a prototype, learn from the unexpected responses that users give, document the observations and insights you gain from them and think about other ways to gain some clarity on building on your prototype.

Prototypes help to:

  • Test the concept quickly and cheaply

  • Check basic functionality

  • Collect positive and negative user feedback

  • Make adjustments in the product/service

Types of Prototypes

  • Models

  • Wireframes

  • Fake Ads

  • Storyboards

  • Role plays

  • Mock Ups

Tools for Physical Prototypes

  • Paper – 2D: Hand drawings of different screens are drawn on paper, that represent user interfaces of a product. A common practice for testing these prototypes is to have one person play ‘computer,’ switching the sketches around according to user choices.

  • Paper – 3D: A 3D prototype encourages manipulation and could draw a higher level of engagement in the concept-testing phase. Using cardboard, foam, wood, plastic, clay and building blocks has become increasingly popular, especially with the spread of design thinking’s hands-on approach.

  • Wireframes: A wireframe is a visual representation of a product page that the designer can use to arrange page elements. By linking together different pages, you can create a very basic prototype in software like PowerPoint and Keynote.

  • Business Origami: The paper cut-outs of various objects improve prototyping systems and interactions with them. This is especially effective for creating models of facilities, spaces and furniture etc.

  • LEGOs: LEGOs facilitate innovation and business performance. The sets can be used to build low-fidelity prototypes of business and service experiences.

Tools for Digital Prototypes

  • Balsamiq Mockups: Provides basic wireframing for apps/websites with the option of choosing the device. Extremely simple and fun to use.

  • Proto.io: Good to create holistic click-throughs with multiple screens & customized animations.

  • Framer JS: Full customizability in terms of transitions & micro-interactions. Best for a few screens!

  • Flinto: Great tool for advanced digital prototyping.

  • Wix.com: Great tool to pick free website templates and edit them to make your own!

  • Canva: Great tool for creating basic graphics and marketing material

Prototype Testing

Prototype testing refers to conducting small experiments or tests to get customer feedback by explaining and showing your prototype to potential customers. We know that the entrepreneurial process is full of uncertainty.

Conducting small experiments to get customer feedback by explaining and showing your prototype to potential users

  • Assess the success of a product or a service without spending the full amount

  • Get access to customer feedback before launching

  • Learn from findings and improve

You are unsure of what will work and you do not know what problems might come with running the business. In this environment of uncertainty, prototype testing helps assess the success of a product or service without spending the full amount into it. The thing with prototype testing is that you get access to customer feedback and reaction before you have even launched your product or service. Rather, you build your product depending on the reaction and feedback that you get and increase your competency as an entrepreneur. In this process, entrepreneurs answer three questions before conducting the test:

  • What is the assumption? While prototyping, you might have made some assumptions, which have to be tested. Though you conduct early stage experiments and tests to get customer feedback, being clear about exactly what assumption you are testing can define the objective and measure the results of it to an extent.

  • How different experiments or tests can be conducted in a cost-effective way? When working towards launching your start-up, entrepreneurs are usually working with resources in hand. They do not get funding without proving their business opportunity. Thus, these small experiments and tests must be conducted in a low- cost manner.

  • Who can serve as the right subjects for your experiment and how would you reach out to them?

Activity: Plan for Prototyping

When: during the session

How: following trainer’s instructions, use this table to plan the prototyping of your business idea

What do we need to learn in developing our business concept? What is our assumption that we need to test? What prototyping will help us learn if our assumption is correct? Whom should we interview and observe interacting with the prototype?

1.







2.







3.







Quiz:

  1. What is a Prototype?

  1. An early sample of product

  2. A product in market

  3. A product which is in market for years

  4. A hypothetical product

  1. Which of the following is not a part of the Prototyping cycle?

  1. Create

  2. Improve

  3. Test

  4. Advertise

  1. Which of the following is a Type of Prototype?

  1. Model

  2. Fake Ads

  3. Role Play

  4. All of the above

  1. Flinto is a great tool for ?

  1. Physical Prototyping

  2. Advanced digital prototyping

  3. Manual Prototyping

  4. Paper Prototyping

  1. The ultimate aim of Prototype Testing is to get ?

  1. Investor’s Feedback

  2. Entrepreneur’s Feedback

  3. Customer’s Feedback

  4. Owner’s Feedback