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Early Concept Prototyping for UX Teams

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An introduction to the benefits of early concept prototyping in user experience design and how it can be included into your company's UX workflow. Gives information on UI/UX process changes, presents workflow diagrams, and provides ideas to overcome objections from stakeholders.

Published in: Design

Early Concept Prototyping for UX Teams

  1. 1. EARLY CONCEPT PROTOTYPING Marti Gold Managing Director of
 User Experience November 14, 2014
  2. 2. What is
 EARLY CONCEPT
 PROTOTYPING?
  3. 3. Low-fidelity representations 
 to more clearly define a product’s features and function
 early in the design process.
  4. 4. Commonly Known Benefits • Static images cannot communicate interactions. Only prototypes can bring an early concept “to life.” • Changes to prototypes are
 FAR less costly, in both time 
 and resources, than even the smallest changes after development is underway.
  5. 5. More Benefits… • Clickable prototypes are an invaluable reference for developers, particularly offsite teams. • Prototypes ensure 
 “a common vision” 
 of the product across the entire organization.
  6. 6. Two Other
 “Not So Commonly Known”
 Benefits…
  7. 7. Prototypes create
 EXCITEMENT
 within any organization
  8. 8. “A prototype will save 1,000 emails”
  9. 9. Removing The Myths • Testing early prototypes does NOT require expensive labs. 
 Company cafeterias or local coffee shops work fine. • Tests do NOT require weeks to set up. Clickable prototypes can now be built, and tests completed, in a single day.
  10. 10. More Myths…. It does NOT require a lot of test subjects.
 3-4 participants are usually sufficient
 to find the biggest issues.
  11. 11. Even More Myths… Developers are not required. There are many easy-to-use, inexpensive tools – both desktop and cloud-based – that non-Developers can use.
  12. 12. How Prototyping Changes Traditional Development Workflows
  13. 13. Without prototyping… • The Business team identifies a need • They prepare executive presentations • The app or site moves forward only after funding is approved.
  14. 14. Tick tock, tick tock….. • The application may be in “late alpha” stage, before it finally goes to user testing. • Depending on the results of those user tests, the app is either … • Sent back up the funnel for revisions, OR • Released “as is” with the intention of fixing minor issues via future updates.
  15. 15. This process is unavoidably Company-Centric The company builds products the company wants, and then hopes the User will like them.
  16. 16. With Prototyping, the Flow is Different • An unfilled/underfilled market need is identified. • A small proof-of-concept team is assembled to gather core requirements and define the product’s goals. • Early concept prototyping and testing starts almost immediately.
  17. 17. Features and interactions are rapidly refined by user feedback. Each iteration’s prototypes increase in fidelity.
  18. 18. The “Go” or “NO Go” Decision • When prototype confidence (negative or positive) reaches a certain level either… • The idea is submitted for executive funding 
 OR • The idea is abandoned.
  19. 19. Funding Decisions: Powerpoints vs Prototypes Which do you think will give your executives
 more confidence in product funding decisions?
  20. 20. Once funded… • The larger cross-departmental product team is assembled • Iterations and testing continue with increasing prototype fidelity. • Back-end/services development work which is not dependent upon the UI can be started, further reducing time to market. • Eventually, we arrive at a “launch-approved” prototype which simulates final interactions, visuals and features as closely as possible. • Prototype and documentation go to final coding.
  21. 21. Tonic3’s Prototyping Workflow
  22. 22. Prototyping processes are inherently User-Centric The company builds products the User wants, and can be confident the User will like them.
  23. 23. Tips to successfully adopt early concept prototyping Making perceived hurdles disappear
  24. 24. 3 people. 3 weeks. 1 room. 1 Business
 1 UX 
 1 Developer Give them free-rein… • Uninterrupted blocks of time • A project room to work together • Prototyping tools/software • Easy access to users (usertesting.com, etc.)
  25. 25. Encourage Free Exploration • ENCOURAGE your product teams to embrace early concept prototyping to explore many ideas. • ASK for even more iterations when something looks promising. Ideas trigger more ideas. • FUND the truly brilliant and game-changing
  26. 26. Don’t “marry” early visions • Early concept prototypes WILL uncover many unexpected things • Logic flaws • Critical features that were overlooked • Remind everyone NOT to become emotionally attached to an early vision. They could overlook large gaps.
  27. 27. Stay focused on the basics • Early concept prototypes are meant to confirm the product’s viability and overall direction. • Secondary features can incorporated, debated, and tested after funding
  28. 28. Build all early prototypes as white labels • Eliminates brand bias. • Minimizes the need for legal and security reviews • Ensures early ideas are not accidentally divulged to competitors during feedback phases.
  29. 29. About now,
 the Product Managers in the
 audience will look like this…
  30. 30. But here are the
 PROJECT Managers…
  31. 31. Talking Project Managers “Off the Ledge” • Effectively implementing early-concept prototyping may (read “will”) require adjustments to existing workflow processes and process tracking tools. • It will be messy at the beginning. • But you MUST keep telling the project managers… “THIS IS OKAY.”
  32. 32. So, what is the best way for
 your organization to implement
 early concept prototyping?
  33. 33. In the true
 spirit of
 prototyping, just START. 
 And get feedback… And then refine… And get feedback again….
  34. 34. Thank you.

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