Putting together a prototype of a plan, whether it’s a new app or another type of design, has a number of advantages. First and foremost, of course, it’s cheaper than designing the full app, and prototyping gives you the chance to work out the kinks before you put together the full program, allowing you to take a quick look at what works and what doesn’t before you get started. Paper prototyping takes that convenience to the next level.
What is Paper Prototyping?
In paper prototyping, you sketch out your designs and ideas on paper, or, even more conveniently, on a whiteboard, instead of trying to put them straight into your app. Paper prototyping is the low-technology alternative to spending hours in front of an app. Putting your sketches up on a whiteboard, for example, will allow you to get a better look at how your efforts will flow together without having to spend the time and effort on putting your ideas into the app. There are several reasons why paper prototyping can benefit your business.
1. Get the Whole Team Involved
It’s hard to gather your entire team around an app, especially if you’re using it from a smart phone or other small device. With a simple whiteboard, on the other hand, you’re able to easily put your ideas on the wall in front of an entire team. Not only can everyone shout out suggestions as they occur to them, they’re able to stand up and contribute to the design at the same time by sharing space around the whiteboard. This method is excellent for team-building and other strategies.
2. There’s No Need for Special Technology
There’s no special software involved in paper prototyping, other than a program like Pop that will take your sketches from the whiteboard to the prototype you need. You don’t have to learn how to use a new app or figure out how to utilize unfamiliar features. Not only that, you don’t have to worry that some members of the team may not have the specific app or program you want to use, which will help encourage everyone to participate.
3. Keep Creative Flow Moving
Let’s face it: there are plenty of times when apps get in the way more than they allow you to take care of your needs. In many cases, figuring out how to use a new app or platform can leave you struggling to figure out how to move forward. In others, a crashing or glitchy app, or worse, one that simply doesn’t have the features you need at the moment, can make it impossible to create the appearance you need. When you use paper prototyping, on the other hand, you’re able to keep creative flow moving and get your ideas on paper quickly.
4. Make an Easier Backup
There’s nothing worse than being almost finished with a new design, only to discover that it’s disappeared completely. When you use paper prototyping, you get a hard copy right in front of you that’s easy to save: all you have to do is capture an image on your phone or camera. Taking pictures before you make major changes will also allow you to easily go back to a former version of the design without a great deal of effort.
5. Go Larger-Scale
Most screens, even for designers, are relatively small. When you want to be able to sketch in the details or use a larger scale for your designs, using a whiteboard is one of the most effective ways to give your images the size they deserve. You can add notes anywhere around them, make your designs bigger so that you can see their full scale, and more.
For many designers, paper prototyping is becoming an integral and important part of the design process. Using a whiteboard will allow you to draw in more members of your team and see a bigger-scale version of your design, which will in turn lead to a more effective final design.
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