When discussing your next software development project with our team, you may hear them mention a software prototype. If you aren’t familiar with this term, don’t worry, as today we are here to share everything you need to know about software prototypes. You’ll find they offer many benefits to business owners and can help to make your work go much smoother when implemented correctly into your next project.

Software prototyping – what is it?

Visualizing your software product is called software prototyping. Software development is a costly and time-consuming process, which is why prototyping is used at the start of the project. This can ensure any issues are identified and allow you to pinpoint any problems with the design or functionality of your software before it’s too late. Changing your mind later on in the process can be expensive and frustrating, which is why prototyping is always recommended when designing a new piece of software or an app.

Why should you use a software prototype?

Software prototyping is something we always try to use for large projects. When you are creating a new piece of software from scratch, you’ll need to understand how much time will be dedicated to the planning process. To create a software prototype, we’ll work together to understand your needs and expectations. Software prototyping allows you and us to visualise the product before you start investing into creating the software. For both sides, this ensures that we get things right the first time, and this quick mock-up ensures that everyone is on the same page from day one.

As you can see, this process saves time and money for everyone involved in software development. This will ensure that the user’s needs are met from the start of the project. When creating software from scratch, your end-user should always be kept in mind. End-users could be staff, customers, or both but they are the ones who will benefit from your new software. You’ll soon be able to see from the prototype whether your product is going to fulfill their needs. To save time further down the line, you can redesign at this stage. You’ll also find that it helps you to identify any key features that may be missing.

The different stages of planning a software development project

In every software development project, there are various stages that you’ll need to go through. These stages ensure your developers create a functioning and effective product. Whether you are building an mobile app or a desktop appliction your development company will want to go through these three stages.

The wireframe

The software you have been daydreaming about is like creating a wireframe, in your mind. The next step usually involves you sitting down and drawing out your idea, often on a piece of scrap paper. If you’ve had an idea in your mind for a while, we encourage you to put it onto paper. A wireframe should include the screens that your end-user will see, with some notes about how the software should function. Your developer can take your initial sketches and ideas and create a formal software requirements specification.

The mock-up

Following on from the wireframe, you’ll start to take your ideas a little further from the wireframe. This generally requires developers to use graphics software to create a more realistic version of your potential product. Share the mock-up with your stakeholders and employees and ensure it includes your branding and main functionality. This mock-up, however, is still not a functioning model of your software and is simply images that will showcase your final design. When you are going through this process, you’ll always want to consider the functionalities of your software to ensure it’s actually realistic.

Creating the prototype

Finally, your developers will be ready to start with your prototype. This should be an operating model which showcases the main features of your product without going into too much detail. It will give users a good idea of how your software will function, whilst allowing for future changes.

From here, some companies also opt to create a minimum viable product. Which if working with us, is something we would be happy to create if needed. This is an enhanced version of your prototype, which is ready to put on the market. For simpler projects, you’ll find just sticking with a prototype before we start work on your software will be enough.

In Summary

A prototype is something we use often, as it will benefit both your team and ours. It can help to ensure we are all on the same page before going any further into the work. When the prototype is complete adjustments to your software or app can be made as needed, this will save a lot of time and money, by ensuring that you aren’t disappointed with the final results. Our top priority at all times is bringing your vision to life, which is why a prototype is sometimes essential.

Regardless of what type of software you are looking to build, feel free to reach out to our team. We are happy to work on a wide variety of projects so call us today for a software consultation. We look forward to collaborating with you, on your future software development projects.