Rapid prototyping is an iterative, visual process of quickly mocking up a future website, then validating it with users, stakeholders, developers, and designers. This early feedback reduces the need for changes during development. It reduces missed requirements. Iterations are either real-time changes or cycles of a few days.
Prototyping gives a preview of how the site will look and how it will work. This means focusing on the 20 percent of functions that will be used 80 percent of the time.
High-fidelity prototypes can be very realistic, and may even be mistaken for the final project. In addition to providing a preview, these prototypes are useful for usability testing and for training.
We recommend building your prototypes with simple HTML and CSS. There are designers who advocate rapid prototyping with WordPress. It’s not for the uninitiated.
We overcome what might seem like impossible deadlines by making creative use of our time. We know we have to make decisions quickly, and we do that. Simple ideas are key. We also inform the client we need quick responses from them. They come through every time.
With no time for perfection, we focus on the 30 percent of effort that makes the biggest difference. We simplify the navigation. Generate more appropriate color scheme along with professional typography. And work hard to get fast page-load speeds.
Is there chaos involved? Yes. But in the end we make vast improvements in the site’s look, the feel, the speed, and the credibility. No problem.
- Avoid feature creep by setting clear expectations and limitations regarding purpose, fidelity, scope, and duration of the project.
- Rapid prototyping is not the final working product – that evolves with time.
- Reuse. Recycle. Save parts of what you’ve come up with to use in future projects.
- Not every change request from a prototype review is a do it now new requirement. Some may be pushed to a future release.
- Be very specific about the kind of design feedback you need. Otherwise, be prepared for micromanagement comments and questions such as, “I don’t like the blue in the header!” – or “Can’t we use this font instead?” – or “Can you make the logo bigger, bolder, bright red, and flashing?”