Product development is a complex thing that requires a lot of “hats” to be put on:
- Business analysis
- User Interface prototyping
- Quality assurance
- Marketing (if it’s not an in-house app)
For now lets talk only about prototyping.
What is prototyping?
This is similar to creating a picture using a pencil:
The more detailed interface you will have, the better app you will get.
So, after 2-3 talks with a business analyst you will get a more detailed vision of the app:
After 1st 2-3 screens, you will have a better understanding of the app.
And it will lead you to smth like that:
On the above picture, you see screens and links between them.
The links help to understand what happens on a particular screen and interchange between screens.
Why is it useful?
- It is easy to change
- No programming required
- You can get a fully “clickable” prototype of the app and walk thru all possible ways
- When you use such prototype you experience how the app will work
- The live experience can bring you the ideas that you haven’t though of
- The mode ideas you sort out before programming – the less you will have to change
Mobile app development if costly:
- Usually a mobile app requires to connect to some data-house
- The API (data interchange protocol) between data-house and an app should be created
- The need to support iPhone (usually referred as iOs which implied iPhone/iPad/Watch support) and Android or even Windows phone apps is necessary.
Therefore, one change in the app may demand:
- change in business logic it data-house
- change to API
- change to app interface
- * by the number of platforms you plan to support ( iOs/Android/Windows Phone/Watches)
- make changes
- test that everything works properly
That’s like domino, btw:
The problem is that it is not as visible as in real world construction
Many people don’t understand the complexity of software.
It is difficult to understand because it is invisible.
Let’s have a look at this real-world samples from construction.
After the 1st floor was built – there came an idea that the 2 windows in the guest room are not necessary and the doorway should me moved to another place.
So, the changes you see in the pictures are no so crucial.
That’s a small private house.
Imagine what would happen if the company built 40 same houses and now had to do that changes?
You have walk through the prototype of your app to avoid such situations.
Let’s summarize what we’ve said so far:
- list ideas
- create prototype
- walk through prototype 100 times
- show it friends, co-workes and all interested parties
- apply changes to prototype
- Repeat it many times
- Start designing & programmig only after you are sure that everything is in place