Why You Should Be Prototyping Your App Designs

By Carey Wodehouse

an architect looking at a prototype of a house

More often, user interface (UI) designers and user experience (UX) designers are using app-prototyping tools to take their UI designs on test drives earlier in the app lifecycle. This capability can be a game-changer, in some cases removing barriers to rapid iteration and development that have frustrated teams in the past—things like late-in-the-game user testing data, last-minute tweaks, slower feedback cycles, and delayed approvals.

Prototyping applications enables UI designers to share working prototypes of screen designs so that experimentation, testing, feedback, and approvals can happen before development even begins—in some cases, as early as the sketching and wireframing phases. For teams using Design Thinking, it’s one of the best ways to can keep up with the fast pace of iteration required to keep ideas (and products) moving. Designs can be imported and interactivity added, allowing users to click through apps, scroll, toggle, and generally engage with an app exactly how they will once it’s built.

There are many different options on the market with a slew of features that may make one or the other more attractive to you or your team, whether it’s pricing, third-party integrations, or advanced features like file syncing and real-time presentation modes. In this article, we’ll look at a few reasons why design teams at companies like Paypal, Twitter, Uber, and Netflix rely on prototyping tools like InVision, Flinto, Origami Studio, and Justinmind—and why you should use one, too.

See designs in action.

Just import designs into a platform to get started. InVision, Origami, Justinmind and Flinto all allow import of PhotoShop or Sketch files (some both), whether it’s natively or via a plugin.

Any actions you want your app’s UI to have you can make happen with a prototype: gestures, animations, scrolling, transitions, effects, and other “micro-behaviors.” Dropping in screens you’ve already designed—whether they’re simply sketches or more involved designs—allows you to hit the ground running.

In Flinto, for example, interactive screens are visually linked, showing users where each action will take them within an app. InVision similarly lets you add behaviors to designs, but note that the designs have to be created separate of the tool—you can’t create layouts within it like you can with a more all-in-one platform like Justinmind, which lets you create wireframes in the app with templates, pre-loaded UI kits, and a drag-and-drop interface.

Fire up the feedback cycle.

Prototyping helps to truncate the review/change cycle by getting clients, business partners, product managers, and anyone else who needs to weigh in on the feedback loop earlier with a working, clickable prototype.

The design team at Shopify uses InVision “as a feedback mechanism to allow asynchronous feedback on a design. InVision is great when we’re moving super fast—it cuts down on the amount of meetings we must have.” InVision also enables real-time design sharing and collaboration between teams, as well as browser-based design presentation tools that make it easy to share designs with clients with a bit more polish, if you need it. During real-time design meetings, presenters Go to the full article.

Source:: Business 2 Community

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