It’s difficult to design an app prototype if you don’t know the steps to take or how to do it. By reading this guide, you’ll learn the basics of prototyping, including what tools to use and how to create a flawless app prototype.
The purpose of prototyping is to ensure that the final design meets all the technical requirements and is easily used. Prototyping is useful for mobile app design, but it may not be as simple as you think.
Let me walk you through the entire process of creating your mobile app: from selecting which tools to use, to wireframing and prototyping, to mockups, and ultimately, creating your first app.
Want to learn how to prototype mobile apps? This post is for you! It’s filled with basic information about prototyping mobile apps and will answer the question: How do I prototype a usable mobile app?
What is a Mobile App Prototype?
A mobile app Prototype is a working model of the mobile app to be developed. This draft will help developers to create the app and investors to back the project. It also clarifies what the design, functionality, and other characteristics of the app will be like.
Prototyping helps us create prototypes of our app design. Prototypes are visual representations of the app’s design that help communicate the overall look and feel of a product while giving us an idea of how it might work.
When we build something new, we like to start with a prototype. The prototype gets us feedback about our ideas, which helps us plan the next steps for making the whole app.
Why Сonsider Using A Prototype?
Think of application prototypes as the first draft of your idea. It shows only the basic functionality and is used to get early feedback before you move on to the next stage in development.
These are some reasons why you should consider having a mobile app prototype before having the full-fledged thing.
1: The prototype provides an outsider’s perspective and a new point of view
When designing new app products, it’s important to get feedback from your team members, so it’s helpful to prototype your ideas and share them with your team. A prototype can help you work through new or revised ideas and make the design process more efficient.
2: Creates room for experimentation and finding the best solution within constraints
Prototyping is a great way to test your designs and brainstorm new ideas. It can help you come up with solutions to the toughest problems in app design and can be valuable for validating assumptions and exploring new solutions, especially when you’re working with other designers on complex problems. Not everyone uses prototyping as a part of their design process, but it can be immensely valuable in many situations.
3: Prototype – a subject for target audience research
Your app should keep pace with technological trends to appeal to the right audience, but how do you determine what those are? User feedback can help you refine your prototype to reflect users’ needs and preferences.
4: A prototype helps to estimate the cost of app development
Building mobile app software from scratch using codes is high or expensive. Thus, using a prototype is a must to estimate the overall cost and investment without going for the complete development process.
5: Involves development and investment
Gaining investors’ trust can be tough, but a prototype app design can help. Investors will better understand the utility of your app and be more likely to invest. Presenting your ideas in user experience lets you communicate faster and better, and it will also simplify production work later on when it comes to development.
How To Prototype An Application: A Step-By-Step Guide
This section shows you how to develop an application prototype as efficiently as possible. The first part presents quick tips on how to envision the look and feel of your app and its functionality.
After the brainstorming phase, we move on to the wireframing, mockup, and prototype phases. We use templates and app prototyping tools to make sure our application works for end-users and looks good.
Let’s walk through these steps now, shall we?
1 Step: Determine the Must-Have Functionalities
Before developing your application, make sure you know what it is supposed to do. Nothing is worse than building an app that no one uses because it fails to accomplish the goal you set out for it. Before beginning to build a prototype app, make sure you have a clear idea of what you’re going to do. Then, be ready for a substantial undertaking.
When you’re building a prototype, it’s important to determine how your app will work so that you can identify its core functionalities. For example, if you were building a shopping app, the functionalities would include adding a new product and displaying its price.
During the development process, it’s important to consider if an app will handle all the basic functions of an end-user. These include basic utility features such as buttons, text boxes, and image uploaders.
When you design a prototype, make sure you consider how users will interact with it and know that by testing it, you can catch any technical or design problems right away.
When building a prototype app, you want to create a functional mockup of the app that you can use to get quantitative and qualitative data from real users. The app should be easy to use and allow users to do something they couldn’t do without it.
Then you need to draw the scratch of the basic app functionality and interface. Start off by brainstorming, interviewing, and surveying your target market with features they would be interested in having.
After you have brainstormed, interviewed, and surveyed your target market with the features they would be interested in having, then you need to draw the outline of your app’s basic functionality and interface.
Don’t try to build out every feature at once. Start small, and get your prospects excited about the main benefits of your app. Figure out what people want most, and make sure to include those core functions in your first version. Then, map them out on a mind map or spreadsheet, so that they are easy to reference while you are building.
2 Step: Try Creating A Sketch Of The Main Screens On Paper
Once you have determined the basic features, you’d like your app to have, sketch the app prototype on what you would like the app to do. Since apps change a lot from the original concept, don’t spend too much time nailing down all of the details at this stage. This step is just the beginning of the design and development process.
Once you’ve written down your idea for an app, begin designing a simple version of it on paper. This is sometimes called a “low-fidelity wireframe.” It doesn’t need to be pretty; it just needs to depict the app’s layout and flow of screens. Then, use your computer to add the design details.
This section will discuss the benefits of paper app prototyping and look at some of the features that this method includes.
Author James Macanufo coined the term paper prototype in his book ‘The Innovator’s Guide to Growth.’ Paper prototypes are useful for early-stage product testing and validation, and this lightweight prototype requires no development time and is ideal for validating early-stage ideas. To create a paper prototype, first, brainstorm a list of potential features your app might have.
After sketching your app on paper, you can use several online tools to give it a professional appearance. You don’t need to be a programmer to create a functional model of your app with these software programs, including Moqups, Proto, and UXPin.
3 Step: Give The Prototype A Professional Look
In this section, you will find out how to make your app prototype look good. You can use a variety of programs to get a sense of how your app will feel to users, and two popular options are Figma and InVision Studio.
Prototypes help you simulate how users will interact with what you’re designing, show other people the different parts of your app, get feedback from them on each individual screen or its overall flow, test the designs without writing any code, and present your ideas to other people involved in your project.
To keep things simple, there are two primary wireframing tools for mobile apps most designers use: Figma and InVision Studio. Both are easy to use and offer several features, including creating interactive wireframes, mockups, and high-fidelity prototypes.
Figma’s flow feature makes it possible to design interactive prototypes based on your existing designs. It helps you to create interactive prototypes even if you have no coding skills.
Figma is an online tool that creates interactive app wireframes, clickable prototypes, and design mockups. You can invite team members to contribute to your designs and share your ideas with clients for validation.
Figma allows you to reach a stage in the design process where you can actually see what your app will look like. Figma combines the ease of use of a wireframing tool with the power and flexibility of a prototyping tool.
InVision is a prototyping design tool that helps you create an app prototype that is clickable and shareable with navigation, transitions, and animations in a way that’s easy to use. InVision allows you to make designs interactive to create prototypes of your app and share them with your team all from within one environment.
The inVision tool helps designers take the friction out of the design process. It allows designers to quickly and easily show their designs to stakeholders, including developers, to test reactions before time is spent building or coding.
4 Step: Create A Digital Prototype Of Your App
In this step, you will finally be able to turn your paper wireframe into something that is useful for those who will be using it. In this guide, You will learn how to quickly create a working prototype in Andromo by taking advantage of the free 14-day trial period.
It’s time to turn your sketches into interactive prototypes. While creating an interactive prototype can feel quite hectic, don’t get stuck in the details. Using a web tool such as Andromo, you can create full-fledged android or ios mockup app prototypes and test them on different platforms without writing a single line of code.
Don’t spend hours making wireframes and testing manually! Just add your prototype to the Easy Start Section of Andromo, add a pre-designed background, necessary elements such as buttons, sections, photos and start testing your idea right in real-life situations.
Andromo lets you build application prototype examples without writing any code. It’s easy, and just choose the type of app to create and then use the design tools to put it all together. Best of all, the Andromo App is a real application. It works like an app, though, to see what it’s like to have an app of your own.
5 Step: Share The Prototype With Interested Parties And Adjust The Design Based On Feedback
Congratulations! You have taken that vital step of transforming your app prototype into a digital prototype. Well done! Now, when it comes to showing off your digital prototype to others, you need to know a few tips.
You took your prototype to a whole new level when you turned it into a digital prototype. This is exciting! Now that you have taken the time and effort to use mockup tools for mobile apps to create an interactive app prototype, you can use it to share your project and bring in some much-needed investment and feedback.
Usually, you would now start the usability testing process, but it may be helpful to continue making changes and refinements to your prototype as you get feedback from potential users. If you are using mobile app design software such as Figma or InVision Studio, or some other type of prototyping software, make sure to check out their live sharing capabilities. Because some of these tools allow you to make real-time changes to your wireframes in a browser-based environment which can help get quick feedback from your design team or other stakeholders on the look and feel of your prototype.
Andromo Tips: What To Consider When Prototyping A Mobile App
Here are the tips from Andromo that you might want to consider when prototyping a mobile app. Place yourself in your user’s shoes, and it’s a guarantee that you will be more motivated and passionate about the process.
1: Test prototypes in specific situations and test more often
Context is the real-life situation for which the application is being built. Consider a submarine. It has to sail in deep water. So, before you rush into building the product, you first have to understand what the environment is like, the pressure, and the product’s requirements.
What works in a lab and in the real world can be very different. That’s why it’s important to have a good idea of the context in which you are developing your app and involve people who use the product to interact with it in that environment. The context becomes the basis for testing prototypes, which could mean building or getting hold of existing software.
2: Start with sketches, not a graphic editor
When designing app prototypes, it’s always suggested to start with sketches on a piece of paper. There is a good reason for that. When you start making it look pretty with a graphic editor (like Photoshop), you are tempted to make it look perfect. This can be counterproductive because, at the stage of making something minimum viable product (MVP), you need to figure out what works, what doesn’t, and fix those things later when there is time available.
3: Use live content
Prototyping is an essential part of the designer’s toolkit. There are many ways to prototype, including pen and paper, but with the emergence of digital prototyping software, prototyping can easily be done on a computer. Once you have designed your app online or on paper, it’s time to move on to creating your digital prototype.
4: Build up your design in layers
When building up your app prototype, remember to design in re-usable layers. Knowing how to create a good mobile app prototype might be crucial to the success of your project. Using user interface prototyping tools such as Figma, you can quickly test designs and iterate upon them until you find the most suitable solution.
5: Apply design thinking
When building up your app prototype, remember to apply design thinking which deals with the complexity of user needs, the uniqueness of your product, the problems you solve for users and your target market. Remember that there is no universal solution for all types of mobile apps in terms of functionality, appearance, and platform.
Consider carefully which features to include in your app, just because it is available with a certain software used for mobile app prototyping doesn’t mean you have to.
6: Explore patterns and off-the-shelf component libraries
When building a prototype app, you probably naturally go to your designed screens and start adding buttons, textboxes, and toolbars. But I suggest extending this practice by exploring patterns and off-the-shelf component libraries to speed up your development time while keeping the design quality high.
Prototyping is a widely used concept that allows you to test your app’s key functions sooner rather than later. This article covered the various methods, tools, and benefits of prototyping. Hopefully, by now, you know what prototyping is and what it can do for your app development project. So make sure that this article falls into your reference list and gives you plenty of valuable insight when it’s time to build your simple app design.
If you are searching for a prototype app builder, then Andromo is the best option to start. The app builder of Andromo offers its users a user-friendly interface that can help develop high-quality apps by eliminating some of the technical difficulties in programming.