Prototyping is an essential stage both in website development or heavyweight software development. However, sometimes inexperienced developers say something like “why do we need prototyping, maybe, we should directly pass on to creating design”. There could be quite enough reasons for developers to respond this way, but there are actually no objective reasons to skip the stage of prototyping.
Favor for developers and clients
- By means of prototypes we can test constantly something new in the project, and not be bound strictly to the only option;
- The client understands how the users of his site will see text and graphic content;
- Permanent job of improving usability of a resource.
As a rule, it takes programmers much more time and effort to develop a simple static page than project manager to create a prototype. The same thing is actual for the developing in a future site. We can surely show a client the complete design of the site after all agreements, but what he is going to have? In practice changes in design after delivery of the project in 90% of cases are inevitable. And it’s normal. Do you want another font? We’ll do it! Need to correct a slider? We’ll correct it!
But any changes of that kind, for example, in already done design cost the client much dearer than if all these works were pledged at a prototyping stage. It’s always possible to return to a prototype if necessary, to correct something, to remove. If you decided to save on a prototype – be ready to additional expenses.
Whatever remarkable design you could create, whatever high loadings would be maintained by your site – it’s useless without navigation. Perhaps, even to you.
If users can't find what they came to your site for and spent their time – you can say goodbye to this user forever. Unfortunately, not all studios and furthermore customers possess those skills and abilities which would help them to say with absolute confidence: “Yes, gosh darn it, it will work!” Usually the first internal meeting with "WebVisor" of Yandex.Metrics sorts things out.
How can prototypes help?
- To see how fast a user will be able to get on the main sections and pages of the site;
- To understand demand degree in a drop-down menu of the site;
- To estimate favor of “breadcrumbs”;
- To see how much the navigation system of the site is clear.
By the way, if you take in head to debug navigation after the final draw of design – be ready to necessary changes of everything by the principle of “height of the ceiling in already built house”. Certainly, with all that it implies.
Any content shall be served like a good dish at restaurant. Be it the SEO text or a professionally written article about 5000 signs. Users love well-structured and not wide content. In a word – elegant content, informing and inducing to action at the same time. To place and present it in the right place is the main task of a prototype.
If questions concerning content and the user interface are solved at a prototyping stage, any future change of them won't need special expenses both from the client, and from the team of developers. Chances to get the most convenient and useful page for the user considerably increase.
Prototypes represent the way of visual assessment of the site: as colleagues designers say, one presentation is better than one thousand words. The earlier a client sees a detailed prototype, the better it is for him – the opportunity to reconsider cardinally the approach to the creation of the site at a prototyping stage, its concept and structure. Otherwise he buys a pig in a poke with one main and several internal pages.
Developers need a prototype – this is my credo in the work. Without it they should look back constantly at the client, at the head, and it is a sea of various questions and misunderstanding. A prototype is “road map” for the developer, helping not only to improve efficiency of the work, but also quality of the developed product.
Author: Varvara Dyakova, project manager of “Russian IT group”