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An introduction to the benefits of early concept prototyping in user experience design and how it can be included into your company's UX workflow. Gives information on UI/UX process changes, presents workflow diagrams, and provides ideas to overcome objections from stakeholders.
to more clearly deﬁne a product’s features and function
early in the design process.
Commonly Known Beneﬁts
• Static images cannot
communicate interactions. Only
prototypes can bring an early
concept “to life.”
• Changes to prototypes are
FAR less costly, in both time
and resources, than even the
smallest changes after development is
• Clickable prototypes are
an invaluable reference
for developers, particularly
• Prototypes ensure
“a common vision”
of the product across the
Removing The Myths
• Testing early prototypes
does NOT require
Company cafeterias or local
coﬀee shops work ﬁne.
• Tests do NOT require
weeks to set up. Clickable
prototypes can now be built,
and tests completed, in a
It does NOT require a lot of test subjects.
3-4 participants are usually suﬃcient
to ﬁnd the biggest issues.
Even More Myths…
Developers are not required. There are many
easy-to-use, inexpensive tools – both desktop and
cloud-based – that non-Developers can use.
How Prototyping Changes
Traditional Development Workﬂows
• The Business team
identiﬁes a need
• They prepare executive
• The app or site moves
forward only after funding
Tick tock, tick tock…..
• The application may be in “late
alpha” stage, before it ﬁnally goes
to user testing.
• Depending on the results of those
user tests, the app is either …
• Sent back up the funnel for
• Released “as is” with the
intention of ﬁxing minor issues
via future updates.
This process is unavoidably
The company builds products the company wants,
and then hopes the User will like them.
With Prototyping, the Flow is Diﬀerent
• An unﬁlled/underﬁlled market need is
• A small proof-of-concept team is
assembled to gather core requirements
and deﬁne the product’s goals.
• Early concept prototyping and testing
starts almost immediately.
The “Go” or “NO Go” Decision
• When prototype
conﬁdence (negative or
positive) reaches a
certain level either…
• The idea is submitted
for executive funding
• The idea is abandoned.
Funding Decisions: Powerpoints vs Prototypes
Which do you think will give your executives
more conﬁdence in product funding decisions?
• The larger cross-departmental product team is assembled
• Iterations and testing continue with increasing prototype
• Back-end/services development work which is not dependent
upon the UI can be started, further reducing time to market.
• Eventually, we arrive at a “launch-approved” prototype which
simulates ﬁnal interactions, visuals and features as closely as
• Prototype and documentation go to ﬁnal coding.
Prototyping processes are inherently
The company builds products the User wants,
and can be conﬁdent the User will like them.
Tips to successfully adopt
early concept prototyping
3 people. 3 weeks. 1 room.
Give them free-rein…
• Uninterrupted blocks of time
• A project room to work together
• Prototyping tools/software
• Easy access to users (usertesting.com, etc.)
Encourage Free Exploration
• ENCOURAGE your product teams to
embrace early concept prototyping to
explore many ideas.
• ASK for even more iterations when
something looks promising. Ideas trigger
• FUND the truly brilliant and game-changing
Don’t “marry” early visions
• Early concept prototypes WILL
uncover many unexpected things
• Logic ﬂaws
• Critical features that were
• Remind everyone NOT to become
emotionally attached to an early
vision. They could overlook large
Stay focused on the basics
• Early concept
prototypes are meant
to conﬁrm the
and overall direction.
• Secondary features
debated, and tested
Build all early prototypes as white labels
• Eliminates brand bias.
• Minimizes the need for legal
and security reviews
• Ensures early ideas are not
accidentally divulged to
the Product Managers in the
audience will look like this…
Talking Project Managers “Oﬀ the Ledge”
• Eﬀectively implementing early-concept
prototyping may (read “will”) require
adjustments to existing workﬂow
processes and process tracking tools.
• It will be messy at the beginning.
• But you MUST keep telling the project
managers… “THIS IS OKAY.”
So, what is the best way for
your organization to implement
early concept prototyping?
In the true
And get feedback…
And then reﬁne…
And get feedback