Why Prototypes are Essential to Great Product Design
Prototype design is critical to getting closer to the real functionality of your product. Sketches, wire frames, blueprints and mock ups are great, but the prototype is what’s going to bring your product to life. You, your investors, and your future customers will want to touch, feel, smell, and use the product for a true experience.
Proof of the importance of prototype design
Prototyping will help you understand the user experience better and expose any flaws or fixes you need to make before you reach the next step of your product design.
Prototypes like Personal Drink ID have shown people the difference a product can make on women’s safety by helping them detect whether or not their drink has been drugged. This example shows the importance of prototyping, since they will want to ensure the product properly performs the way it’s supposed to. Providing accurate information to its users once it’s launched is obviously important. As you can see, if prototyping was skipped to save time or money during the design process, it could cause major issues and larger expenses/delays when the product is launched.
Advice from a prototype design expert
Todd Zaki Warfel wrote a book on prototyping which outlines some of the benefits of it. These universal benefits are summed up as the following:
- Assists with communication and collaboration
- Helps gauge feasibility, while reducing waste
- Help you sell your idea
- Tests usability earlier
- Sets your design priorities
These points are expanded on in Todd’s book but also here.
Prototype design is a practice that is strongly advised in product development. Although restrictions may come into play making prototyping not as attainable for some, it’s important to find a way to make it work in order to reap the benefits of setting your product up for success.
Article Author: MAKO Design + Invent
MAKO Design + Invent is a full-service consumer product development firm servicing both high-growth corporate manufacturers and invention startups. With a 25-person team across 3 offices (Austin, England, Toronto), MAKO has complete in-house industrial design, mechanical engineering, and electrical engineering design and prototyping services. To assist our start-up inventor clients, we also have a subsidiary branch called Mako Invent that, in addition to above, helps start-ups with patenting, strategy, marketing, and sales/distribution for all consumer product categories. For our corporate clients, MAKO Design develops world-class consumer electronics designs through our industrial, mechanical, and electrical design teams.
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