What’s the big deal with prototyping, anyway?
Prototyping is an invaluable tool in the product design cycle as it enables stakeholders to see how a feature would flow within the context of their product, or even how an entire product might work.
Making a Lo-Fi — or even a Hi-Fi * — prototype before committing to a full blown build-out is a wise decision to make because even the simplest prototype can reveal major loopholes that might have not occurred to anyone in the planning phase.
A Lo-Fi prototype is a crude, imperfect UI which is used to demonstrate software functionality and/or user flows.
At the same time a Hi-Fi prototype will have more finesse to its graphical user interface.
Neither should be considered production-ready material by default.
Sometimes things we have pictured in our head just don't work so well in practice. Prototyping before building can save tremendous amounts of time and effort, and not to mention money.
It is a common scenario for a young company to not have designers on staff, so the developers need to go out of their comfort zone in terms of expertise, in order to implement a feature *.
What usually ends up getting shipped is a train-wreck of a feature that only the developers themselves can figure out how to use.
We don’t need to mention that developers are not known to be too good at this, but they do it anyway because who else?
Good to have in mind:
Next time you need to do a demo or a pitch, or you simply have an idea for a product, don’t bend yourself backwards explaining how it works — or God forbid build on a hunch. Build a prototype instead!