A simple system to create a Prototype for your product 🖍
Issue 5🪜: Create prototype for your MVP - rapid testing & feedback with simple approach.
Hey everyone👋, welcome to the 14th newsletter.
One of the magic ingredients in your product is Prototype, whether your product lives online or is a physical product. And no matter what but it’s also important for your MVP (Minimum Value Product).
Building a Prototype helps you & your team get a sneak peek of what the product looks like. Not taking users into account but without spending money you yourself can understand whether this is how you want to launch your product.
The ideal cycle of product designing is never-ending and also requires a lot of complexity but when you’re building an MVP your only aim should be to build & ship fast. Don’t wait for perfectionism.
This is probably the most relatable cycle of product designing 👇🏻
🚫 Here are a few things you need to avoid when creating a prototype:
Copying your competitors.
Trying to fit in the perfection box and spending more time on redesigning stuff.
Overestimating and underestimating feedback - you need a balance of both.
Not creating product documentation from the beginning (it can be the least interesting thing but it will help in the long run).
Designing just to make yourself satisfied.
📝 Research and Prioritize
There is a difference between the solution you create & what your users need. Once you’re able to understand the right solution, you can easily visualize how your product looks like or how will it work.
The prototype is not how you satisfy yourself with the design but fulfil your user’s needs. My approach is to create a few features that attract users, easy to build & ship, and I can also get some real feedback from users.
So overall the prototype should be useful for users, easy to use, attract new users, give faster growth & solve the right problem.
Let’s start by doing some research
Look at your competitors & understand how can you make a difference at the initial stage,
Look for design solutions on the internet, it doesn’t need to be from similar products online (I do this because it helps me build up my creativity),
How can I make my product attract users for the initial stage (based on the features),
Need to build & ship it fast (because I don’t want to spend most of my time just planning, creating & not letting my users try it), &
Only have 2-3 main features which sell the product & help build a user list.
Now the thing is what we see is the right solution doesn’t mean the user will understand or need it.
These are the priority features I want to have in the initial launch of Marked:
All type of Embed links (social media, articles, audio, anything that is present on the internet)
Add notes in between the links
You can highlight the part from YouTube videos that you want to include in the workflow.
Drag & drop to rearrange the workflow.
Now once I’ve identified the needs, I can move on to create a user flow & wireframe. This will help me understand how users will use the product. It’s better to do a user flow rather than directly moving to the prototype.
👩🏻💻 Create a user flow
I understood the importance of creating a user flow when I was building a product last year. To my designer, I explain the complete concept of the product & we sat down to create a user flow (which I think I could have done myself). It gets so easy for a designer to design the product when they themselves create a vision of it in their head.
There are so many small features, elements & details when you look at the design. When you use an app you don’t look at how easily you can change things, make edits & get your work done because the designer team did an amazing job by understanding what will be your next step.
Knowing how the users will move from the dashboard to use different features, what next step they will take & every possible way a user can use your product, will not only help them but also help you design the app.
Work on product wireframe
I created the wireframe along with the user flow. At this stage, you still don’t have to include fonts, colours, or other branding items, so it’s easy to work on it. You just need to decide how are you going to layout your app. Wireframe helps you understand where each element, component & feature will go.
To design the layout I didn’t use any tool or app but drew it on paper, it’s quite easy for me.
✏️ Finally, create a prototype of your product
This was my first time creating a prototype. I’ve created a UI/UX before but never created a prototype. (Let me know in the comments below if you guys are interested to see the Prototype of Marked live)
Prototyping feels like the actual product without the backend coding. In total, it took me 4 days to work on Product design starting from research, idea, user flow, wireframe & prototyping.
But remember to ask these questions:
Is this design or feature or section or element necessary?
How is it helping your product lift up?
If you remove it in the initial stage will your product still survive?
Marked design wasn’t great in the first short because I worked more on how the product looks rather than creating something that users need.
And then I had to re-do everything.
It’s the beginning so I’m not spending a lot of time on different colour patterns, fonts & layouts. I’m rather going simple, and minimalistic because
it’s easy to create,
not too much creativity is required &
help users focus on the features than the look.
To create the product I’m using Figma. My previous product was also designed on it but I hired a designer at that time. Remember to keep things simple. Don’t have high expectations with your design. Your focus should be on the product solution and not on the small elements.
💭 Final thoughts
One thing that I won’t recommend - Don’t just hop on developing/coding the product before designing the product. The path to building your product is undiscovered & complicated at times. You don’t know how would things look like, where you’ll put features or how to maintain the product.
Prototyping is highly cost-effective, I created the complete design of Marked on Figma for free.
Thanks for reading! Let me know if you have any questions.
Until next time 👋.
👋 PS: I’m Ritika founder, product marketer and advisor for early-stage startups, find more here or connect with her here. If you’re a first-time founder looking for curated resources, download here. If you enjoyed this post, read the past issues here. You can also promote your product in this newsletter.
A big thanks for reading & sharing!