You Want to Improve Your UX Design. How Can You Make Prototyping Tools Work for You?

January 29, 2024

No matter if you are a startup founder or an action-driven entrepreneur, prototyping might be the best way to test and learn quickly. Let’s explore how. 😊

Again so much choice. But what is enough for your project? — Photo by Zac Wolff on Unsplash

Choose the right tool for the purpose

Nowadays the opinions are endless, especially with the growing increase of AI-infused solutions, but don't let this overwhelm you as a business owner and divert from trying prototyping as a fast way to test and learn from your current business idea. The prototyping tools in general divide themselves into the categories serving web solutions, mobile apps, both of the mentioned and games. From this segmentation, the tools can be either focused solely on the functionality, the design aspect or both.

Now as a web designer, you would choose the one tool that best fits you and your skills, as well as how fast and easy would be for you to build a prototype or tackle a learning curve. When choosing the right tool as a business owner if you have experience with any or have a specific goal or functionality-oriented preference you can suggest it to your designer or add a team member specialising in the tool.

All in all, if you do not choose which tool to use, always ask for a professional second or even third opinion. Asking never hurt anybody.

List of a few popular prototyping tools: Figma, Miro, Sketch, Adobe XD, Webflow, Wix, ProtoPie, Unity, Unreal Engine, GameMaker Studio, and Construct.

Plan your prototype

My favourite part. Here comes the outpour of all learned and gathered information during the past few meetings, research (hopefully) and hypothesis. In this phase of planning the scope is crucial in terms of future gain. What you determine as important now will be proven to be either true, false or different than anticipated when the users start using your prototype. The whole purpose of the prototyping phase is to keep it simple, focused and open-minded. You can also determine how complex you want your prototype you want to be. It can vary from paper to sketches, to low-fidelity wireframes, to high-fidelity wireframes or even to a published version 0 of your digital product. And don’t worry about the details and aesthetics right now, in this phase keep it simple, minimalistic and focused on the idea and functionality of it.

Use (un)realistic data

This is also a favourite part of mine. I know I said it already for the previous one. 😁 But here, your imagination has to start working too, in this phase you have to source the real data and the sources that will make your business idea alive. Depending on the complexity you have chosen for building your prototype, here you can choose to either work with real (your own) or dummy data. Whatever makes more sense for testing your idea and hypothesis.

Iterate and refine

Currently, with my client, we are in exactly this phase. We are at the crossroads to either improve the prototype and improve it or start creating a beta mobile app based on the learnings so far. Since I wasn’t involved in the beginning of the development of the prototype, now the best solution is to gather all findings and lay out all the gaps, errors and opportunities for improvement and start from the ground up creating a mobile app with the mindest for growth and expansion in the future. As a design advisor in this project, I asked for more research but I have to respect the decision of my client and preference to work with the current data and plan the potential outcomes.

Share and collaborate

Usually, I would say the more the better, but in UX design we need to follow the scope and design principles and methodologies to aim for quality input and later output. So the eyes that will see, test and give feedback on the prototype have to fit a certain persona type. You can also opt for an outsider's opinion that might help with overall user experience or visual design, but remember that your prototype and ultimately the final product is created to serve specific group(s) of people. Here in this phase performing user testing is of high value, and the questions and tasks that you ask to be performed can determine if the user test was successful or not. So make sure that you prepare well and facilitate a good environment for the purpose.

Here’s what else to consider

Don’t neglect the power of good user research and having a thorough designer on your team. The more time you spend on research, testing and refining the better product you will build. Embrace all change as a learning, take time to process certain findings, and if necessary don’t be afraid to pivot. Also, let's call them “In my honest opinion” conversations, don’t be afraid of having them with your team members because they are quite important during the development and design process to keep team members on the same page.


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