Using rapid prototyping to solve UX problems
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Published on January 30, 2015
To design faster and more efficiently, you can use rapid prototyping, whether you are using rough paper sketching or creating advanced simulations as part of the UX design process. Rapid prototyping provides you the ability to showcase the look and feel of your final product in rapid time. Use rapid prototyping to present a visual image to your team or stakeholders. This creates an environment that allows for experimentation and testing because the prototype is malleable and can still be modified at this stage of development.
Rapid Prototyping for UX: 3-Step Process
Rapid prototyping takes place in a three-fold manner. First, create the prototype using UX standards as related to how the app or web design will best benefit the user. Second, either with your team or during user experience research sessions, use the prototype for a trial run of the design. Take notes on how the design works best, or fails, in its attempt to benefit the user. Finally, take the feedback and apply it to a redesign, as needed, of the prototype. Continue with this process until you have achieved a seemingly flawless design that benefits the targeted user.
As you utilize rapid prototyping, note the three levels of prototyping include:
- Low fidelity, which typically involves a paper sketch of the design
- Medium fidelity moves beyond paper and pencil to computer-based tools and wireframes
- High fidelity takes the prototype into the advanced stage and will most likely resemble the final product in close detail
For the three-step process, work through the three levels of fidelity so to provide the greatest transparency on your design process.
What UX projects should use Rapid Prototyping
If you are attempting to change or upgrade an app or website at a dramatic rate, you can use for rapid prototyping as a way to test the changes with your UX research group. The UX training courses at American Graphics Institute include rapid prototyping classes for UX that show how this process can help you to work more efficiently.
About the author
Jennifer Smith is a user experience designer, Photoshop expert, educator and author based in Boston. She is the author of more than 20 books on design tools and processes, including Adobe Creative Cloud for Dummies, Adobe Creative Cloud Digital Classroom, and Photoshop Digital Classroom. She has been awarded a Microsoft MVP three times for her work with user experience design in creating apps for touch, desktop, and mobile devices.
Jennifer delivers UX training and UX consulting for large Fortune 100 companies, small start-ups, and independent software vendors. She has been hired by Adobe and Microsoft to deliver training workshops to their staff, and has traveled to Asia, Europe, India, the Middle East, and across the U.S. to deliver courses and assist on UX design projects. She has extensive knowledge of modern Windows UX Design, having worked closely with the Windows team to create educational material and deliver UX workshops to key partners globally on behalf of Microsoft. Jennifer works with a wide range of prototyping tools including Fireworks, Photoshop, Illustrator, Blend for Visual Studio, and Balsamiq.