First of all, we must clear a concept, what is a prototype. A prototype is the most basic practical model of a product. Lines and graphics are generally used for design, which is a concrete embodiment of the functional sections and elements of the product.
Fidelity is the degree to which the prototype approximates the final product form. The higher the fidelity, the better the prototype will reflect the final state of the product when it runs. Classified by fidelity, prototypes are divided into low-fidelity prototypes and high-fidelity prototypes.
1. Low-fidelity product prototypes
In the vast majority of cases at work, a low-fidelity prototype will suffice. This prototype, also called a wireframe, is a sketch of a page drawn with lines and shapes.
Sketches should contain layout, interaction, and logical descriptions of product pages and features. Made with any tool, even hand drawn.
Although such a sketch does not reflect the visual aesthetics, it already allows the reader to understand what the function of the product is. The communication object of the low-fidelity product prototype diagram can be anyone, but it is mainly used for communication within the product team.
Such wireframes show the modules and functionality of each page, as well as some interactive elements. The product manager, supplemented by some explanations, is enough for UI designers and developers to understand the functions to be implemented by the product.
2. High Fidelity Prototypes
In the product discovery stage, user research is sometimes conducted or the plan is reported to the leader. If these stakeholders are less familiar with the product development process or in pursuit of a better experience, high-fidelity product prototypes are required.
3. Principles of product prototyping
There are three main principles of product prototyping:
1) The primary purpose of designing a prototype is to address one or more product risks at a lower cost.
2) Prototype higher fidelity products only when needed.
3) Team members and business partners can gain consensus by experiencing prototypes.
The core idea of these 3 principles is: there is no best, only the most suitable!
In other words, as long as the risks can be resolved and the relevant people reach a consensus on the product concept, the lower the cost, the better.
Highfidelity prototypes are really impressive, but at the cost of manpower and time. If the prototype is modified frequently, the modification effort will also be large.
In actual work, low-fidelity wireframes can meet 90% of application scenarios.
Drawing prototypes is only one of the jobs of product managers, and leaving the time saved by drawing prototypes to understanding the business can generate greater value.
Prototype, just fit!