The prototyping technique allows you to build a draft version of a product, share with stakeholders and validate the concepts and design before going into the implementation stage. This allows you to get early feedback in the process and hence improve your design ideas at the initial stages of the design process.
The level of details that you add in a prototype, called as fidelity, can vary depending on your requirements. A low-level fidelity prototype includes high-level details without much focusing on appearance details, whereas a high-level fidelity allows you to add minor details about the product and is closer to the actual product.
A prototype helps you in the following three ways:
- Get early feedback from your clients and improve your designs before going into implementation of the product.
- Make changes easier and cheaper as most of the functionality and design is finalized before writing a single line of code.
- Ensure user involvement throughout the process and this helps you to stick to the right track.
4 Top Prototyping Tools for UX Designers
Selecting a prototyping tool is an important step while you are building the prototypes for your product as it requires an understanding of different available tools and the feature-set they are providing.
A comparison of some commonly used tools is provided below that helps you to select the best suited to your requirements.
Price: Free, $9.99/month
- Adobe XD provides ways to collaborate among your stakeholders to get their feedback.
- A plus point is that it allows easy integration with Creative Cloud applications. Files from Photoshop or After Effects can be imported and added in prototypes.
- Adobe XD lets you create design systems within the tool so that you can use it among all your products easily and quickly.
- The tool provides the feature to integrate with Google Sheets, Airtable and Trello apps.
Pricing: Trial, $99/year
- Sketch is a Mac based desktop application that provides an easy to use interface to build prototypes.
- It allows you to create multiple artboards, symbols and a set of advanced properties that help you design experiences to a deeper level of detail.
- Sketch cloud allows you to share your prototypes using cloud version with your team and exchange ideas using the same tool.
- It provides you the functionality of creating the re-usable assets called symbols that you can use in your designs.
Pricing**:** Free, $7.95/month
- InVision is a web-based tool, you can access your design projects from the cloud anywhere and anytime.
- It makes life easier for designers and they can import different types, including JPG, PNG, GIF, PSD files and treat them as UI screens and add hotspots elements to link them into a prototype.
- InVision provides an easy to use interface where you can import files from Photoshop or Sketch and use them in your prototype in the InVision environment.
- You can share your prototypes with your stakeholders using simple URLs and get their feedback in real-time.
- InVision allows integration with multiple apps like Slack, Dropbox, Trello, and JIRA.
Pricing**:** Free, $12/month
- Figma is a web-based collaborative UI designing tool.
- It allows you to create and use design systems to make the process of prototyping easier and faster.
- The most popular feature among its users is the collaboration. Figma allows you to collaborate in real-time with your teams by working simultaneously on the same prototype.
- The comments feature makes it possible to collaborate with stakeholders and finalize the design within the same prototype in Figma. This real-time feedback method fulfills the real purpose of prototyping in the design process.
Prototyping is an essential way to present your design ideas to your stakeholders and validate them at the early design stages. Selecting a tool that best suits your requirements is important to create the desired prototypes. The given comparison of tools will help you to pick the one tool that helps you achieve your objectives.
At Fintory, we work mainly with Figma because it allows easy interaction with our customers in a file. Giving feedback and making it happen has never been easier. So if you have a brilliant idea and want to turn it into a prototype, feel free to contact us.