6 Critical Phases to Develop a Mobile App Prototype
Step 1: Define your application's issue.
The initial phase of generating an app prototype is equivalent to the initial phase of app development. First, you must determine the issue that your app will address.
For some people, this may appear to be straightforward. But you'd be shocked at how often entrepreneurs come up with app ideas simply because they seem nice, even if they don't solve a problem or meet a market need.
If the app you're proposing to investors, partners, or the board of directors doesn't solve a pressing problem in the market, it will be instantly rejected.
Do not attempt to avoid or speed through this procedure. Taking the time to comprehend the objective and purpose of your application will serve as the foundation for the entire development effort.
Step 2: Plan and list out your application's major features
Now that you have identified the issue, you must create features to solve it. In short, you are defining the functionality of the program.
You can begin the brainstorming process by making a list of all prospective app functionalities. Then, though, you will need to reduce the focus to functions that are essential to the app's operation.
Avoid getting carried away. Yes, any program "could" contain particular features. But ask yourself if this function is necessary for the app to function.
If the answer is no, you may proceed to the prototype stage. You can always return to this concept in the future. Limit yourself to no more than five essential functions, and design your prototype around these before you bother about the screens.
Step 3: Sketch the Main Screens
Once you've chosen the features you wish to add, it's time to create a rough draft of your app concept.
Then, you utilize arrows to represent their progression from screen to screen.
For instance, if you are designing an e-commerce software, you can sketch the product screen layout.
You can create placeholders for product images and buttons, such as the "Checkout" button.
Then, you indicate what occurs when the user touches the button by drawing an arrow from the button to the checkout screen.
At this point, you do not need to consider color or style. You require no extra equipment.
Remember that this is merely a rough illustration of your prototype, so avoid going into excessive detail.
A low-fidelity wireframe has the benefit of allowing anyone to quickly explain app ideas, collect feedback, and make changes.
Once you are satisfied with your sketch, it is time to develop it into a functional prototype.
Step 4: Create a Digital Prototype
As said previously, prototypes transform wireframes into something more complex. This phase requires the use of a prototyping tool, and we'll examine some possibilities shortly.
While wireframes can be shared with team members for comments, a prototype has a slightly different audience. If you want to impress your boss, your board of directors, your investors, or your future consumers, you need a prototype.
The purpose of a prototype is to make the application feel real to anyone with a stake in the project. You can also provide a prototype to your developers so they have a better understanding of the end goal.
I view the prototype as a means of bringing the wireframes to life. When you construct a prototype, you add legs to the wireframe and give it personality.
In contrast to a wireframe, which may only be used internally, a prototype can be displayed. You may add it to your website or post it on social media to generate interest in your app and begin promoting it before its release.
Step 5. Evaluate Your Prototype
Now that the prototype is complete, it is time to implement it. Encourage as many individuals as possible to use it in order to obtain the most varied feedback possible.
Your coworkers are the simplest and first users with whom to do testing.
Include more than simply the development staff. Share it with HR, accounting, and marketing personnel. Friends and family can also serve as testers.
But by far the most important group to test it with are your app's end customers.
The objective at this step is to collect as much feedback as possible, no matter who is tester.
This can be accomplished in a variety of ways, from requesting surveys to recording them while using the app.
However, if your software enables it, the simplest method would be to capture live data while people test. Some solutions, such as Invision, also permit users to leave comments within the app prototype.
After collecting sufficient input, you will modify your app prototype to address pain points and concerns.
Retest the prototype with the same or a different group of users and collect more feedback.
Rinse and repeat until you arrive at a satisfactory pre-final prototype.
Step 6: Finalize and release
It is not sufficient to merely offer them a link to the prototype; in fact, you should avoid doing so.
You should instead plan a presentation and personally walk stakeholders through the app prototype.
If a customer criticizes your design decisions, for instance, you can always provide evidence that users favored it over other options.
At this stage, it may also be beneficial to polish your prototype and make it more presentable to stakeholders.
You can hire a graphic designer to generate prototype elements or integrate complex functionality with code.
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