Building a prototype for idea validation

You’ve done the research and now you’re ready to build something that users can actually interact with. Why should you make a prototype before you start selling your idea to investors? Because prototypes diminish the risk in creating a digital product.

  • The benefits of prototypes

    • Fail quickly and cheaply
      Prototypes give you the ability to iterate ideas to achieve your product/market fit. You can iterate as many times as you want, based on feedback from potential customers and investors, which helps to quickly improve your product.

    • Learn from feedback
      Users of your product tell you stories of what they expect, which features they’d welcome, how they feel when using your prototype, what they understand and what they don't get. If you’re seeking potential investors, a prototype will show them you’re serious.

    • Make your case visually
      Showing your users or investors what your idea looks like in reality rapidly increases your chances of success. To have something in your hand is easier for people to understand than merely imagining it. Guy Kawasaki, renowned author and VC, said he prefers a prototype to a really good pitch.

  • Process:

    • Prepare content
      The goal of most websites is to get visitors to the content they seek as quickly as possible. Simple content accompanied by beautiful, intuitive design is the best way to accomplish that.
      The general attention span is about 3 seconds. Forget long paragraphs of text, no one’s going to read it. Make it short and to the point. But don't exclude our favorite thing… emotions!

    • Sketching
      Write everything you know: content, user flow, pages you’ve had in your head. Then start wireframing sketches, page by page. You’ll be surprised how many things you forget: on-boarding, log in, mid-steps, etc. Each page. Then think about different cases and journeys of your users. Are they covered in your sketches?

    • Wireframing
      The creation of wireframes. Putting each element in its right place.
      Here it’s going to be tricky without UX (user experience) knowledge, because just putting content on the page doesn’t make it efficient and user-friendly. There’s a reason why a UX designer made a particular button a certain width and put each element where it is.

    • Design
      Transforming wireframes into visually appealing creations. Here come colors, shapes, photos, emotions, fonts, aesthetics, and playing around with elements