Software prototyping
Software Prototype

Software prototyping- What it is, Types and Why Do You Need it?

From Concept to Creation: The need for Software Prototyping

You could have a billion-dollar software idea, but how could you know if it is even worthwhile building it? Who will buy it if you build it? If you build and sell it, would it be profitable?

These are basic questions every entrepreneur and product developer must ask themselves before pouring time, money, and resources into development. If the results don’t turn out to be positive, the loss will be too much to recoup.

Fortunately, there is a better way to test your assumptions without boiling the ocean. Software prototyping it is. 

What is software prototyping?

Software prototyping is the process of creating a preliminary version of a software application with the intention of testing its functionality, design, and usability. 

It is an essential step in software development as it allows for an early assessment of the software product, and the identification of potential issues that can be addressed before the final product is developed.

For example, if you have a product idea, instead of building it outright, you build a landing page that outlines the product. On the landing page, you ask people if they would be interested in such a product and ask them to sign up. 

Then you proceed to build a basic skeleton of the product without any frills. By frills, we refer to no additional features that are not necessary to prove the need and the point of the product. A software prototype always focuses on the basic functionality, usability, and feasibility of the end product. 

There are several types of software prototypes, each serving a specific purpose. The main types of prototypes are:

Types of software prototyping

Low-fidelity prototypes 

These are simple sketches or wireframes that give a basic understanding of the software’s layout and design. Their purpose is to present the idea in a working condition and convey its usability and feasibility to stakeholders. 

High-fidelity prototypes 

These are more detailed versions of the software that include functionalities, designs, and interfaces. High-fidelity prototypes are more accurate representations of the final product.

Interactive prototypes 

These are high-fidelity prototypes that allow users to interact with the software and provide feedback. They are typically useful when demonstrating the product to a larger audience consisting of investors and the press. 

Working prototypes 

These are prototypes that have working functionality and can be used to demonstrate the software’s capabilities. This can be used in a beta launch after getting considerable attention and buzz about the product. 

Related reading: 4 Software Prototyping Techniques You Need to Know

The many benefits of software prototyping

Now, the big question. Why do you need software prototyping? What possible benefits can building a low-fidelity version of the final product probably provide?

There are several benefits that software prototyping can provide, including

Benefits of software prototyping

Early feedback 

By creating a prototype, you can get early feedback from stakeholders, users, and potential customers, allowing you to make changes before the final product is developed. It potentially eliminates the loss of time, money, and resources in building a final product that may not have a purpose or even a targetable market. Further, it also validates whether the idea is moving in the right direction of solving the pain points of the target audience. 

Reduced development time

The challenge in real-life software development is that even software releases are riddled with bugs and performance issues. These take up a lot of development time to fix and correct. It is certain that a new idea that is being built into a product will have even more errors to deal with. However, software prototyping helps in identifying and fixing issues early, you can reduce the time and cost associated with developing the final product.

Improved communication

Prototyping allows for better communication between developers, stakeholders, and users, as it provides a tangible representation of the software product. Also, all the stakeholders involved in development and testing can see how the product was envisioned and how it is shaped on a real-time basis. This helps in building a refined version of the current prototype.

Increased efficiency

Prototyping allows for faster and more efficient decision-making. It’s because potential issues can be identified and addressed early on in the development process. Further, it could also lead to discovering unexpected use cases that could actually pivot the product into new territories. 

For example, Instagram was originally envisioned as a mobile check-in app which was later pivoted to become an app that allowed users to share visually appealing edited images.

In a nutshell

Imagine software prototyping to be an experimental phase in software development. It ensures that the development team and business owners do not make costly mistakes that could spell doom for the entire idea. It eliminates the risk of building the wrong product, investing in the wrong feature development and in ignoring market needs. Prototyping helps in building a basic skeleton of the product to demonstrate the idea, its usability, and market feasibility. This helps in winning the trust and confidence of those involved in its development as well as investors who could be investing in the product. 

As for benefits, software prototyping helps by providing valuable benefits such as early feedback, reduced development time, improved communication, and increased efficiency. By creating a software prototype, you can ensure that the final product meets the needs and expectations of stakeholders, users, and potential customers.

Wondering where to get started to build a software prototype?

You have come to the right palace. 

Perfomatix is a trusted name in product development. We help businesses build software prototypes that can be eventually refined and built as the final product.

Talk to our experts to know how your software prototype can be built.

Perfomatix | Product Engineering Services Company