EARLY CONCEPT PROTOTYPING
Marti Gold Managing Director of
November 14, 2014
What isEARLY CONCEPT PROTOTYPING?
Low-fidelity representations to more clearly define a products features and function
early in the design process.
Commonly Known Benefits
Static images cannot communicate interactions. Only prototypes can bring an early concept to life.
Changes to prototypes areFAR less costly, in both time and resources, than even the smallest changes after development is underway.
Clickable prototypes are an invaluable reference for developers, particularly osite teams.
Prototypes ensure a common vision of the product across the entire organization.
Two Other Not So Commonly Known
Prototypes createEXCITEMENTwithin any organization
A prototype will save 1,000 emails
Removing The Myths
Testing early prototypes does NOT require expensive labs. Company cafeterias or local coee shops work fine.
Tests do NOT require weeks to set up. Clickable prototypes can now be built, and tests completed, in a single day.
It does NOT require a lot of test subjects.3-4 participants are usually sucient
to find the biggest issues.
Even More Myths
Developers are not required. There are many easy-to-use, inexpensive tools both desktop and
cloud-based that non-Developers can use.
How Prototyping Changes Traditional Development Workflows
The Business team identifies a need
They prepare executive presentations
The app or site moves forward only after funding is approved.
Tick tock, tick tock..
The application may be in late alpha stage, before it finally goes to user testing.
Depending on the results of those user tests, the app is either
Sent back up the funnel for revisions, OR
Released as is with the intention of fixing minor issues via future updates.
This process is unavoidably
The company builds products the company wants, and then hopes the User will like them.
With Prototyping, the Flow is Dierent
An unfilled/underfilled market need is identified.
A small proof-of-concept team is assembled to gather core requirements and define the products goals.
Early concept prototyping and testing starts almost immediately.
Features and interactions are rapidly refined by user feedback.
Each iterations prototypes increase in fidelity.
The Go or NO Go Decision
When prototype confidence (negative or positive) reaches a certain level either
The idea is submitted for executive funding OR
The idea is abandoned.
Funding Decisions: Powerpoints vs Prototypes
Which do you think will give your executivesmore confidence in product funding decisions?
The larger cross-departmental product team is assembled
Iterations and testing continue with increasing prototype fidelity.
Back-end/services development work which is not dependent upon the UI can be started, further reducing time to market.
Eventually, we arrive at a launch-approved prototype which simulates final interactions, visuals and features as closely as possible.
Prototype and documentation go to final coding.
Tonic3s Prototyping Workflow
Prototyping processes are inherently
The company builds products the User wants, and can be confident the User will like them.
Tips to successfully adopt early concept prototyping
Making perceived hurdles disappear
3 people. 3 weeks. 1 room.
1 Business1 UX 1 Developer
Give them free-rein
Uninterrupted blocks of time
A project room to work together
Easy access to users (usertesting.com, etc.)
Encourage Free Exploration
ENCOURAGE your product teams to embrace early concept prototyping to explore many ideas.
ASK for even more iterations when something looks promising. Ideas trigger more ideas.
FUND the truly brilliant and game-changing
Dont marry early visions
Early concept prototypes WILL uncover many unexpected things
Critical features that were overlooked
Remind everyone NOT to become emotionally attached to an early vision. They could overlook large gaps.
Stay focused on the basics
Early concept prototypes are meant to confirm the products viability and overall direction.
Secondary features can incorporated, debated, and tested after funding
Build all early prototypes as white labels
Eliminates brand bias.
Minimizes the need for legal and security reviews
Ensures early ideas are not accidentally divulged to competitors during feedback phases.
About now, the Product Managers in the
audience will look like this
But here are thePROJECT Managers
Talking Project Managers O the Ledge
Eectively implementing early-concept prototyping may (read will) require adjustments to existing workflow processes and process tracking tools.
It will be messy at the beginning.
But you MUST keep telling the project managers THIS IS OKAY.
So, what is the best way foryour organization to implement
early concept prototyping?
In the truespirit ofprototyping,
just START. And get feedback And then refine And get feedback again.