The Pro Prototype
Why a killer app prototype will save you money, time and resources
“If you’re not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.” -Reid Hoffman.
Developing an app that will catch the attention of investors is the new American dream. The trouble is that apps, web or mobile, take a lot of time and resources to develop. For those with a big idea looking to generate interest, pitch for seed funding, or do user testing before rolling a new product into development, the common misconception is that the app has to be fully functioning. Bypassing the UX design and jumping straight into development can waste a lot of precious time and resources, when a prototype or Minimum Viable Product (MVP) will work just as well to help tell the brand story and secure funding—without the expense.
Here are three reasons to spend your time building a solid MVP:
1. PROTOTYPES ARE COST EFFECTIVE
Although cost will vary significantly based on the complexity of the idea and the agency hired to develop it, expect to invest a bare minimum of $15,000 for app development. On the contrary, it’s reasonable to expect UX (user experience) design to come in around half of that for a minimum viable product (see our package here). From where we stand, the upfront investment of a full-scale development simply isn’t worth it, especially when founders can significantly decrease your risk by creating a prototype that can be used to pitch investors
“Prototyping is an integral part of the design process as it lets you and your team review concepts and share feedback in the early stages of a project. By creating an interactive mockup of a website or mobile app, you are able to identify any shortcomings in the flow and usability of your design before investing too much time or money into development.” – Shopify.
2. PROTOTYPES ARE AN OPPORTUNITY TO VALIDATE THE IDEA.
Prototyping tools have become so advanced that they can simulate user flow and experience, including swipe movement and animations. This allows you to test the market and user experience without paying for app development. Just make sure your MVP has a clear channel to market by getting a prototype into the hands of your potential users to confirm that your business idea holds water. Not only will this process help you determine if your idea has marketplace viability, the feedback from your target audience will be invaluable in developing an even better version in app form.
“Through prototyping users can ‘play’ with your ideas and concepts and give you valuable feedback that shapes the final designs before you begin development. “This can save time and money in development and create products that offer significantly better user experiences than ones that move from concept to production with no evaluative stages in between.” — Interactions Design Foundation.
3. PROTOTYPES LEND CREDIBILITY TO PITCHES.
A well-designed prototype is a tremendous asset when pitching investors. A prototype demonstration does more than convey the functionality and interface of an app- it demonstrates that the company is resourceful and committed to making smart use of the funds it has available. More than that, it proves that the company’s founders are serious, and that the idea is legitimate. One of our favorite prototyping tools, InVision, even allows you to download the prototype on your phone and other devices, which could really wow everyone in the room.
“These days, everyone wants to be an entrepreneur, pitching their latest and greatest new idea, and looking for someone to give them money. Angel investors, like me, have long figured out that asking to see the prototype is a quick way to separate the ‘wannabes’ from serious players. Talk is cheap, but entrepreneurs who show you a working model of their idea know how to execute.” – Martin Zwilling, angel investor, writing for Forbes.
Ready to make your idea happen? Contact us and we will develop a prototype that will bring your concept to life.