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Using AppFurnace for Rapid Prototyping

Sometimes it can be difficult to get your colleagues, peers or customers to buy into the great ideas you have for apps, and with such large costs and production schedules, it’s easy to see why that is. But a strategy that’s been used by design firms and software engineers for years can help to eliminate the initial scepticism and fear that your audience has around new app projects: Rapid Prototyping.

In previous posts, we’ve talked about Prototyping designs in AppFurnace near the end of a design cycle, as a way to test the interfaces and interaction that users have with your app. But prototyping can be used right at the start of your project lifespan, as a way to show people what you’re talking about in a relatable way. This can help you gain feedback give you a platform to explore what kind of potential your app idea may have.

Rapid Prototyping is basically, making rough examples of your app that can be tested, shared, expanded on, or just thrown away – without having to spend weeks designing and developing them. Until recently, these kinds of explorations were done on paper, or using HTML pages that allow you to click through the interface on a computer, and although these can still be good methods to explaining an idea visually, they don’t offer the tactility that a phone-based prototype does.

In some of the App Development Workshops we ran recently, we asked participants to collaboratively prototype ideas for apps in small teams, using AppFurnace. In only a few hours, we had several examples of some really interesting ideas, downloaded on our phones, so that we could test and explore the concepts ourselves.

This kind of exercise allows your audience to have a much deeper understanding of your concept than if you just showed them some paper mock-ups, because they can see and feel how your app might work in their hands, on their own devices.

If you’re pitching an app concept to clients, or internally, spending a few hours creating a rapid prototype could help you explain your thoughts in a more tangible way, and draw your audience straight into the project life cycle by connecting them to it on their own devices, and not just an abstract idea on a white board. The benefits of this don’t just end in these meetings either, because your prototype will be sitting on your audience’s mobile devices once you’ve left the pitch, ready to be explored further.

Rapid prototypes also have the added benefit of showing your audience a working example of your thoughts, not just static images. So, if you’re getting ready to share your ideas for an app, you could consider making a prototype, and giving your audience a fuller understanding of your concepts.

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Author: Kieron Gurner

Kieron is a web designer & developer for Calvium, with a hand in interface and experience design from time-to-time.

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