Instagram’s founders succeeded not because they created something new.
Instead, it’s because they combined two existing features—photo sharing and filters—into a package that no one else thought to do.
And you don’t arrive at such a great idea just by guessing. It requires rapid iterations with plenty of prototyping to pull off.
Getting buy-in from stakeholders
Prototypes are one of the most useful tools for attracting buy-in from clients, investors, and other stakeholders.
This is especially true if these people aren’t tech or design-savvy. Some would have difficulty picturing, let alone understanding, your app idea if you gave them just words or diagrams.
In this scenario, your prototype acts as a bridge. It connects stakeholders with your idea via something they can see and interact with.
And that gives them concrete evidence to make better investment decisions.
Marc Andreessen, the venture capitalist behind Foursquare, agrees that prototypes are powerful. When pitching an app idea to an investor, he says that:
The best thing you can walk in with is a working product. Or, if you can’t get to a working product without raising venture funding, then at least a beta or prototype of some form — a website that works but hasn’t launched, or a software mockup with partial functionality, or something.
It’s even better if you’ve already run a prototype against your target market.
This will give you real-world metrics that could prove to stakeholders that your app idea could be successful.
Even if you didn’t get buy-in from your stakeholders, their feedback on the prototype would tell you why.
That gives you valuable and actionable insight that you can use to pivot your app into something that your investors would be willing to back—with far less guesswork.
Designing a good user experience
If there’s one essential practice you need to implement in order to achieve fantastic user experience (UX), it’s prototyping.
That’s because you can’t measure your app’s UX until people interact with it. A prototype gives you this opportunity.
And the best part is that you don’t need to wait until you have a fully fleshed-out design before doing a prototype.
In fact, a prototype is a must at every phase of UX design, especially in the early stages.
Just look at the prototype below, made with nothing but pen and paper.
Petar leads Shake (DECODE’s sister company) as CEO, delivering the product to a growing number of happy, innovative clients. Day-to-day, he ensures the engineering, design, product, marketing and sales teams all work in harmony. Before moving to Shake, Petar led DECODE.
Although an engineer by schooling, his natural talent soon saw him making an impact on the marketing, sales and branding side of things. Petar’s passions include architecture, skiing, sailing, and a good glass of red wine.