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5 things you didn't know about design prototypes in app development

Kathryn WhartonDesign

The design prototype is the thing every one of our clients wants to see. 

It’s their ideas brought to life and the tangible embodiment of the project they’ve been planning for months or even years. 

But it’s more than just a whizzy piece of design. It’s actually the product of a tremendous amount of research, testing and reiteration to make sure the app is perfect for its audience and marketplace. 

Here are five things you might not know about how design prototypes are created in the app development process: 

You don’t need a brand identity to get started

As it’s a design prototype, many clients think they need to have a brand identity agreed before we can start to build their prototype. That’s not the case. 

We can begin working on your app design while you’re still creating the brand guidelines for your new product or organisation. 

All we need is a steer on the things that you want to see. Do you want your design in light or dark mode? What other apps do you like? What stylistic features should we include on your app? What design elements should we replicate from your other products? With this inspiration, our design team can build a prototype to which your brand identity can be applied when it’s ready. 

We also work with clients who have an established brand identity and a clear vision for how they want their app to look from the start. That’s great too. It means we can apply your colour scheme, fonts and photography immediately and make the prototype blend right into your existing product range. 

We sketch the first designs

You might think that a design agency ranked #1 in the world for app development only uses the most high-tech equipment around. Well, we do. But we also go back to basics when it comes to planning a design prototype. 

Our designers create all of their original ideas as hand-drawn sketches. They put pen to paper to produce a design blueprint that brings the clients’ requirements to life. 

We often get clients involved, too. If a client can show us what’s in their head - even if it’s just boxes on a page to illustrate the layout they want - it can really help our designers to understand the clients’ vision for the app. 

The simple stuff takes a lot of time

All successful apps combine solid foundations with firework features that wow their users. 

Those foundations often look like simple functions but can require a lot of work by designers and developers to get right. And getting them right is essential if the app is to be a success. 

During the discovery phase of developing an app, we show our clients how we can deliver the features and functionality they have requested. Sometimes it’s realistic to fulfil that in one project but, more often, we can’t deliver that whole vision within the timescale or budget of the project at hand. 

We work together with clients to achieve a balance between usability and innovation, ensuring the app is solidly built, reliable and functional while still delighting users with its unbeatable features. 

You get to experience the product early with the prototype

One of our biggest pleasures is seeing our clients’ first reaction to their design prototype. 

There is always a sense of relief and elation when clients view the product that has only existed in their heads until now. Seeing what they envisaged brought to life is a special moment for everyone. 

Using a product called Figma Mirror, we provide clients with a working prototype that they can test after we’ve presented the initial prototype to them. This means they can get to know the app better, really test its functionality - and enjoy experiencing all of the cool things they dreamed of being on there. 

It’s produced by everyone

A prototype is not just created by our designers. It’s the result of lots of hard work by our entire team and our clients. 

Prototypes are created at the end of our discovery phase, which is where we do lots of research and testing to validate the app concept and ensure we’re building it in the right way. 

That involves work from our leading user experience researchers and exceptional product managers, as well as input from our clients. Our designers and developers take all of the insight produced at this stage and channel it into a design prototype that meets the needs of the client, user and marketplace.

Get in touch

Want to know more about creating a design prototype or find out more about the credentials of our design team? Get in touch with us today.