Prototyping allows you to enhance your everyday development process during brainstorming and planning to test a concept, gather feedback, and iterate quickly to enhance your audiences experience prior to development. Using prototyping techniques will save you time, money, and reduce development costs and costly changes after you launch.  

Getting Started 

There are several ways to get started from using pencil and paper to using current apps in your toolbox Microsoft PowerPoint and Apple's Keynote to dedicated applications that are designed for prototyping such as Adobe Experience Design (XD), Marvel App, and Protio.io.

As a first step, I recommend using a pen or pencil during your next stakeholder meeting or while just thinking about your next project to start sketching an activity, the app, or environment you are designing. You can use your smartphone to quickly grab a picture and share, review and develop further.  

Tools 

I love working with Apple's Keynote or Microsoft PowerPoint to design and test a concept. You can use your favorite screen capture utility, such as TechSmith SnagIt or Jing, to capture elements from existing screens to use in your design. After creating a concept using the built in tools you can add interactivity thru links by right-clicking on an object and select “link” to connect a button to another slide. This is a simple way to quickly create a working prototype that you can export to a PDF and move to any phone, tablet, or device to demo and test. You can also put in front of your stakeholder or an audience member to concept or demo how it will work.

As you get comfortable with the process, I suggest checking out MarvelApp.com. You can download the Marvel App for free for iOS and Android and use your phone or tablet to sketch, photo, and add hot spots to quickly simulate interactions to demo, test, and gather feedback on an idea. The apps allows you to store three projects at one time for free or by updating to a monthly payment plan you are able to have unlimited projects.  

What's Next? 

Do a little sketching every day, work prototyping into your process, and start to expand your toolset to save time, build better interactions, and create amazing learning experiences for your audience. Bottom line: Prototyping will allow you to improve your process by shortening development timelines and allow you to focus on your audience.

Want to learn more? Join me at the ATD 2017 International Conference & Exposition for the session: Prototyping Your Concepts: Turning Ideas Into Reality. I would love to meet you and connect about how to make learning better with prototyping.