Visualize Your App Before Building: The Importance of Prototyping
Here’s a scary stat for anyone interested in building a mobile app: according to TechCrunch, 79% of mobile users will try an app a second time if the user experience is less than optimal, but this number plummets to 16% after users try the app one more time! What does this mean? It means users have a REALLY low tolerance for buggy apps, so you better get it right the first time. Luckily, prototyping is a tried and tested method for making sure your app is on track in terms of UI/UX from the very start.
Prototyping involves creating a wireframe or skeleton, in order to establish the flow and function of your app. For example, what information should the home screen display? How does a user navigate from one page to another? These are the sorts of things we deal with when prototyping.
Prototyping is not just about design. An often overlooked aspect of prototyping is the integration of business rules into the flow of your application. Normally, there will be set business rules outlined in a contract. (Now, writing a contract that is thorough and works well is an entirely different topic for a different post). Assuming though that your business rules are firmly established, it’s important to reflect these rules in your prototype. For example, let’s say that displaying the user’s geo-location is outlined in the business rules. If so, it’s probably a good idea to reflect this in your prototype (this way, it definitely will not get neglected when the app moves into design and development).
Here are some reasons why we’re all about prototyping at USAWeb:
• Eliminates design iterations: When building an app there can be a lot of back and forth between the client and design team. By establishing a solid prototype that’s received client approval, the design team can move forward with the project confidently.
• Makes development more manageable: By clearly defining the app’s functions in the prototype, your development team will have a clear roadmap of what exactly this app is supposed to be doing.
• Saves time and money: The back-and-forth nature of a project that’s not clearly defined can cost your company precious resources. Do yourself a favor and get your plan straight from the very beginning.
In short, prototyping is a crucial step in mobile app development that can not be skipped. Taking a little time to get your prototype right will help your design and development process immensely – and can help ensure that your end product reflects the initial vision for the app.