Prototype Development: A Comprehensive Guide (2021)

Prototype development deals with the development of the product. When making a product, it is essential to have a prototype ready, which tells what the product will look like, how it will work, and various other things during the initial phase. When working in a product development company, teams will work on the prototype development to help with speeding up the process and knowing what the product will look like. This article will discuss the product prototype development process and prototype development methodology and how it can be effective when developing the product.

  1. What Is Prototype Development?
  2. Prototype Development Techniques
  3. Deciding Which Prototype Technique To Use?
  4. What are the Stages Of Prototype Development
  5. Importance of Prototype Development

1) What Is Prototype Development?

In simple terms, prototype development meaning is when the working replica of the product is developed. A business to conquer a place in the market needs to have a product that is ready to meet the market standards and meet the users’ requirements. To sustain the position in the market, the business will need machines that work efficiently and manufacture without consuming many resources. The prototype development is about defining the product type and deciding various attributes such as customers’ requirements, problem statement, and the conceptual design of the product. Before you get ahead with prototype development, you should know that prototype development is expensive and can consume time.

2) Prototype Development Techniques

There are various prototype development techniques and methods with which one can create the product they want to run in the market. When working on a prototype development model, one will come across various common words, including people, objects, locations, and interaction. When working on a prototype development model, ensure that the product you are developing is well suited for various environments and not for one suitable condition. Given below are some prototype development techniques and methods that one should know before continuing with prototype development.

  • Sketches- The very first one is creating the sketch or the diagrams of the product. This method or technique requires very little effort and is also not very expensive. Using this method, one can easily explain their ideas using the sketches and bring them into the real world. This can be helpful when you do not want to spend too much on developing the prototype.
  • Paper Interface- Paper interfaces are similar to sketches, but in this technique, various parts of the products are also focused, such as creating a drop-down menu or a text field on the paper sheet.
  • Storyboards- Another method that can be preferred for prototype development is the storyboard technique. This involves telling the users experience from beginning to the end of the usage of the product. With this technique, the business will have to focus on their customers’ solutions and explain them very well.
  • Role-Playing- This can be a unique experience for your team as well as your customers. This involves real human emotions as to when they are using the products. This helps one better know how the users will react to the product used for the first time. And how will the user feel when they use the product.
  • Physical Models- Though one cannot have the actual model ready before testing it out or planning it properly, a low-cost physical prototype development will do the job very well. This works with bringing the physical model to the three-dimensional form. It helps the team with testing the model.
  • Wizard Of Oz Prototypes- This is the prototype with faked functions that come from a human. In this prototype, the functions and interactions are mimicked by humans rather than the machine algorithm and software.
  • User-Driver Prototype- This type of prototype development technique is also quite famous, as with this one user suggest the product prototype development. Instead of creating a prototype and testing on users, users themselves create their prototype. This helps better knowing the customer.

3) Deciding Which Prototype Technique To Use?

One might get which technique to use from the above ones. Well, this depends on your business and what this is all about. Know what your product is about. Note down all the products’ key components and all the ideas related to the product. Then decide the usability of the product, how it can be used, practically possible, and your target audience. Now think about what prototype suits well for your product and choose that. Once done, you can get ahead with the process.

4) What are the Stages Of Prototype Development

There are three prototype development stages-

Alpha- This stage is the initial stage for the development of the prototype. During this stage, the product design must meet the product requirements specification. In this stage, the team works as if the product is the final product and put in a similar product to help develop a highly efficient product and does not have many drawbacks.

Beta- Then comes the beta stage, which incorporates design refinements that were founded in Alpha development. These design refinements are then implemented into PCBs, enclosures, GUI, PCBs, Production tooling, etc. This stage overcomes all the errors that were there in the alpha stage of the product prototype development.

Pilot Production- This is the phase where the design is transferred for production. The design is then manufactured for the product, which is then released to the market. The developed products are suitable for the initial release to the market, and the design and process of the production are stable.

5) Importance of Prototype Development

Prototype development can be beneficial in many ways, such as.

  • This helps customers to see the product during the initial stage of the launch. Also, during the initial stage, it is very well ensured that the customers’ product is satisfactory and works as per the needs. 
  • With this method, one can easily incorporate changes to the design. Making the changes will be quite easy when using product prototype development services. 
  • This helps the businesses detect the error in the product ad work on them. This helps the business identify the errors and bugs early before the product is out into the market. 
  • The design also offers flexibility. 
  • The design can also be reused by the developer who might help with similar projects in the future. 
  • Checking out the functionality can be easy, and one can easily identify the missing functionality within the product and get it fixed before the product is launched into the market. 

Final Words

Various prototype development tools can help with the process of development of the prototype. This article might have helped you with understanding the prototype development definition.

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