Prototyping is an important, fundamental and integral aspect of both software and hardware development. It is also often one of the first elements of design in a project and one which will continue to evolve, be developed and altered throughout any design project. Then, here are just three of the major reasons why getting prototyping right is so important.
Perfecting the DNA of a Finished Product
Whilst prototyping, to use the SDLC (systems development lifecycle) model and approach to software prototyping, is a process with prototypes changing and being revised over the course of a design project, it is paramount to get prototyping right at each stage as a prototype or elements of several prototypes will form the ‘DNA’ of a finished product.
This means that, like with human DNA, any faults, defects or aspects of a prototype which go unnoticed, unresolved or unaddressed will have consequences for the effectiveness of a finished product, its success and its longevity. At worst, one or any combination of such issues can jeopardise the success of a product or kill it dead in the waters.
To put this point into context, consider some of the prototypes being made right now; new cars, computer operating systems, pharmaceutical products, drugs and medications and household products are everyday being created and developed enabling finished products to reach consumers. Then, just imagine if a medication was licensed without having begun life as a prototype or a car which had not been prototyped as part of its development hit the show room; the consequences could, at worst, not just sink a business but result in human fatalities and injury.
To learn more about the SDLC model, its applications, pros, cons and stages, and so better your chances of getting prototyping right visit the Tutorials Point website which features a comprehensive, yet accessible explanation and exploration of the SDLC software prototype model.
Prototypes and ‘Proof of Concept’
Further to prototyping being an integral part of a design process and any development project, prototypes are also useful and often required for use in demonstrations throughout a design process or upon its completion and before moving onto actualising, applying or releasing a finished product.
Demonstrations of a product are necessary for numerous reasons, but most importantly a demonstrator model or technology demonstration is the primary and necessary way by which ‘proof of concept’ is established. Therefore, a prototype (and one which has been and meticulously planned and professionally created) is the corporeal or tangible, actualised proof of your concept; meanwhile, get the prototype wrong and not only will it fail to convey and communicate your concept it will leave you with no actual proof of what your true concept is – or its true potential. Reiterated by experts Prototype Projects: ‘It’s often said that the difference between ideas and products is manufacturing [therefore] linking a product idea to the practical feasibility of its manufacture requires detailed planning.’
Consequently, a prototype, whilst a preliminary version of a finished product, can make or break an entire development project. So, before expecting anybody to invest their time, effort or money into your concept, it is paramount to first invest some time, effort and often money to have a professional prototype created in order to even realise your idea.
Prototypes Enable and Secure Investment, Licensing and Promotion of a Product
Beyond creating a prototype to realise your concept and actualise it, prototyping is also necessary in order to secure investment into its subsequent development, have a product licensed and often promote your product in its later design stages.
Take a moment to consider the popular BBC TV show, Dragon’s Den. The contestants who appear on Dragon’s Den are all there with a prototype of a software or hardware product and challenged to pitch their concept or idea to potential investors. Hence, they are partaking in a demonstration. Meanwhile, global companies such as Apple (who do not need to demonstrate their products in order to secure investors necessarily) demonstrate new technologies for journalists and the media in order to create demand and promote a product prior to its release onto the market. What unites both global companies and individuals is that both rely on prototyping in order to turn a concept into a financially rewarding reality.
Hence, it is of supreme importance to get prototyping right; yes, a prototype will almost always and almost certainly be further revised before (if it ever) reaches consumers, but that is why it is so important to get the prototype right; a product which is not intelligently prototyped is unlikely to ever become an actualised product at all; reiterated: getting prototyping right is imperative in order to prove your concept and potentially gain the interest, trust and confidence of investors in order to continue your development.