What is Prototyping: A Detailed Guide

Phases of Prototyping That Incites Product Innovation

Sustained growth is the aim of every organization, but only a few manage to stay relevant for a long time. The complexity of the business environment has forced companies to adopt new techniques and methods to incite growth and relevancy. Prototyping is an experimental process gaining traction among companies offering various products or services to customers. So, what is prototyping? It is a process of making a rough sketch of the actual product- often a replica of the final product.
Designers and product managers often make a prototype of an actual product to test new ideas and make improvements, which instigates innovation and creativity. Moreover, a prototype design helps companies offer a product that satisfies the needs and wants of the customers. There are many benefits of prototyping, which we will discuss in the succeeding part of the article.

What Are the Benefits of Prototyping?

You might have heard about prototyping if you work with a product management team. It is a process that elicits tangible benefits to the company- like customer satisfaction, customer loyalty, goodwill, revenue, and sales margin. As a result, the demand for product managers equipped with prototyping skills is increasing. That’s why product managers who find it hard to answer- what is product management can easily define prototyping in no time. If you are an aspiring product manager; here are some benefits of prototyping that will instigate you to learn the fundamentals of the process.

Reference for engineers

A prototype of a product becomes a good point of reference for product engineers. It helps them understand different aspects of the product closely. Moreover, only a few questions rattle the product engineers when the prototype of a product is present.

Cost-effective

There is a common notion that prototyping is an expensive affair. However, many low-cost prototype designs help product managers and designers in testing the product before its launch.

Testing

A prototype model is tested before the product goes into actual production. It helps product managers and engineers to work on the shortcomings revealed during the testing process.
For the unversed, testing is a process in prototyping where the potential product’s different attributes are analyzed to see if it aligns with the customer’s needs and the company’s objective.

Provides compass

The product prototype acts as a compass for the product management team. Making a product is a comprehensive and time-consuming process and having a product prototype gives a direction to the product designers, managers, and engineers. Furthermore, prototyping also helps product managers list down the product’s unique attributes that can be used for promoting or advertising the product.

Customer research

Prototyping helps brands conduct test marketing – a process where a group of users are offered a product before its launch to check the product’s viability or service. The customer feedback then can be implemented into the final product.

Prototyping is a process that is performed while developing an industrial or consumer product. There are numerous benefits of developing a prototype of a product that is expected to be launched in the market. Similarly, there are different phases of prototyping that help in making a product that aids in product analysis, customer feedback, and product design. Continue reading to know the different phases of prototyping.

Now that you know the benefits of prototyping, let’s move to understanding the phases of prototyping.

What Are the Phases of Prototyping?

The different phases of prototyping that help in developing a viable product are:

Prototype design discussion

Before making a product, prototype designers and product managers should brainstorm to develop a product concept. In this process, the idea of the prototype is formulated and communicated to the company’s stakeholders, who then weigh their opinion. After they approve it, designers work with engineers to build a mock-up of the actual product. Meanwhile, product managers work on pricing strategies, sales models, and resources required for production, among other things.

Design optimization

In the next phase of prototyping, product managers work on the intangible factors of the product like aesthetics, and ergonomics, among others. Product engineers play a vital role in this process. They analyze the prototype on two factors – usability and ease of use. Then, they work with designers and product managers to develop a product that aligns with the users’ needs and business goals.

Evaluation of design and prototype

In this stage, product managers test the prototype. They go back and forth to analyze if the product design aligns with the company’s goals and objectives. Similarly, they analyze different aspects of the prototype model and test their performance.

Verification and validation

Product managers share the prototype with stakeholders for their feedback in this phase. Then, they analyze the product and share their review, and make implementations on the prototype accordingly. And then the product goes for production.

Later, the product is launched in the market. Product managers and the marketing team devise different strategies to promote the product in the market. These marketing strategies highlight the benefits of the product and motivate the customers to buy it. With this, the prototyping process comes to an end.

Prototyping is an important step in the design thinking process. And there are many methods or techniques of prototyping that are frequently used by designers, engineers, and product managers. In the next section of the article, we have enlisted some of the common prototype techniques widely used in companies.

What Are the Common Prototype Techniques Used?

  • Sketches
  • Paper interface
  • Storyboard
  • Role Playing
  • Physical prototype models

In the current business milieu, primary knowledge about prototyping and its different techniques is imperative. It is believed, in order to be a successful product manager, it is essential to possess popular product manager skills that companies seek in candidates. So, if you want to develop a fulfilling career in product management and are clueless about prototyping, it is highly recommended to take up one of the product management certification courses offered by Emeritus India in collaboration with renowned Indian and international institutes for working professionals and other individuals. Take the first step towards developing your career in product management by enrolling for the course today.

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