Prototyping: common mistakes and how to avoid them 💻

Creating a prototype is the best way to examine the product, understand how well it works, and test it on users. There is a great variety of different tools for prototyping. They allow us to undertake more complex interactions easily. However, many developers still commit mistakes that spoil the result. Let’s address them and the ways of preventing those errors.

Proceed to prototyping right away
One of the most common mistakes is to get down to creating a prototype without thinking it through. Most of prototyping tools allow to make the draft more detailed. Even when designing simple black and white wireframes, the developer has to focus on the details. Eventually, you may end up putting much effort in one design without trying other options.

The lack of a concrete plan
Once you are ready to prototype, it may seem a good idea to start creating something on the spot. Modern tools enable designers to easily create screens and model interactions. Therefore, frequently developers start elaborating on all the functions without identifying which elements are worth their time. Besides, odd elements make a prototype bulky and complicated. As a result, it’s more difficult to track the progress and make amendments.

Wrong precision
There are two types of prototype precision: visual — how well the prototype complies with the final design; interactive — how precisely the prototype presents interactive elements. Depending on circumstances, you may need different levels of precision. Sometimes it’s enough to design a simple wireframe instead of a detailed prototype.

Use too much
Thanks to the abundance of prototyping, you have a wide space to create. It’s not always good for you, though. Some designers are tempted to demonstrate everything they have. However, in that case your prototype is bound to be huge and complicated. So, try to implement only those things which are really necessary.

No guidance
It’s often hard to navigate detailed interactive prototypes. The user has to know which elements are clickable and in what order they have to be pressed. Normally, only some buttons, links, and management elements are active, and this is right. Some tools have a hint function. So you can highlight the clickable elements to simplify the process of navigation.

Have you ever created your own prototype? What errors did you make? Share in the comments 💬