Prototyping

5 Problems Solved by Mobile App Prototyping

July 3, 2019

Mobile app prototyping isn’t just a box to check in the design stage. As we’ve said before, prototyping can be incredibly valuable for everyone from UI designers to developers, product managers, and entrepreneurs.

We wanted to know what problems prototyping has solved for various entrepreneurs, consultants, and other industry professionals — so we reached out and asked them. Here’s what they told us.

FullStack Labs: Uniting All Stakeholders

FullStack Labs is a 50-person software consultancy and web design agency located in Northern California. They’ve built over 100 apps for both mobile and web UX. The company has crafted everything from a cross-platform internal chat program for Uber to an online training and test-taking app for Paragon CET, to branded iOS and Android apps to help RIZKNOWS curate deals, promotions, and discounts for their users.

But while each project might need something a little different, a good design and development process is essential for anything you build. And for CEO David Jackson, mobile app prototyping is a key part of that process.

“We start all of our projects with a design phase in which we build high fidelity, clickable prototypes.

Prototyping is an essential step in the mobile app development process. It allows all parties involved — including users, project managers, designers, developers, and QA — to clearly understand what is being built. It uncovers edge cases and makes it easier to define and understand accepted criteria.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, a well-designed prototype is worth more than thousands of pages of specification documents. Specification documents are long, boring, tedious, and difficult to comprehend. Prototypes are easy to understand and fun to interact with.

Most importantly, it’s easy to make changes to design prototypes, and very hard to make changes once code is being written. A change that might take an hour in the mobile app prototyping stage could take weeks or even months in the app itself.”

SEO Hacker: Catching a User Onboarding Bug Before Release

SEO Hacker is one of the Philippines’ top SEO services agencies. The company was founded in 2010 in the wake of a series of major Google updates that shook the SEO industry. The updates marked a major improvement in the intelligence of Google’s search engine. It effectively penalized companies that used shady tactics to artificially inflate their Google rankings, sending a message to SEO companies that the days of intentionally manipulating Google search were numbered.

A photo of someone’s desk, featuring a laptop computer displaying a graphic that says “SEO.”
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization.

CEO Sean Si founded SEO Hacker to improve search performance and conversions with a totally white hat approach that would benefit clients in the long run. The company now includes web development and design, conversion and site speed optimization, as well as a range of SEO services.

Recently, Si’s team has relied heavily on mobile app prototyping as they develop new tools for their users. Si told us, “Currently, we’re working on an app that will help business leaders manage and connect employees. Prototyping has already enabled us to find serious problems that could have impacted our users as well as the success of our app.”

Tyrannosaurus Tech: Helping Customers Think it Through

With its fierce name, orange roaring tyrannosaurus logo, and a dramatic website background backdrop of classic dinosaur movie footage, Tyrannosaurus Tech makes a powerful and entertaining first impression.

Located in Atlanta GA, the top-rated custom software development agency provides a complete range of design and development services. They’ve done WordPress work for a local theatre, touch kiosk software for Porsche AG, and everything in between with a focus on agile development and client ROI.

But no matter what the project, prototyping is always an important step according to CEO Richard Simms — even more for the clients than for the designers and developers themselves.

“Tyrannosaurus Tech does a lot of mobile app development and we always go through a lot of UX/UI design and prototyping with our clients before writing real code on any project.

What we always tell clients is that it is a lot cheaper to iterate on design than code. We want to avoid developing features (or even entire apps) that users ultimately won’t use, understand, or get adequate value from.

Prototyping allows us and our customers to truly think through the user experience and gather valuable feedback from stakeholders to ensure that the app we ultimately build is intuitive and adopted. In some instances, the prototype helps us determine that app should never be truly built and launched and that is a victory in itself.”

A photo of a happy woman looking at a tablet in a coffee shop.
Nailed it.

Ana Santos: Saving Time and Money Through Testing

Ana Santos is a UX consultant and former UI/UX designer with an impressive resume spanning the globe. Her past jobs include being co-leader of the mobile UX initiative at Google Portugal, UX Designer at Quint Group LTD in the United Kingdom, and a UX Instructor and Author for Envato in Australia. However, her true passion is working with lifestyle, fashion, and personal brands to connect with and keep their audience through great UX and conversion rate optimization.

As a consultant and career mentor, Ana helps businesses take a user-centered approach that emphasizes long-term growth and customer retention. Ana’s mix of UX, teaching, and mentorship experience gives her a unique perspective on the needs of development projects, and a keen appreciation for the importance of mobile app prototyping.

“In all the projects I’ve been involved in, rapid prototyping has saved us hours of extra development and unnecessary costs down the line. This is because a prototype allows us to test early and often — an essential aspect of any user-centered project.

By testing a prototype with real users, we’re able to identify what can be improved very early in the process and iterate based on that, before spending resources on further development. There were also cases where the client had built a web app before building out something larger, so they could validate their idea with real customers.”

Voices.com: Understanding Your Users

Since 2005, Voices.com has grown from a small startup to the industry’s leading marketplace, where companies can search, audition, and hire professional voice actors. The company boasts over 500,000 registered users, with voiceover professionals speaking 120 different languages and dialects in 160 countries around the world.

Their work is as diverse as their talent, spanning from audiobooks to video games, to instructional videos, with household-name clients like Monster, Shopify, and Unicef.

A photo of a microphone sitting in a shock mount in a recording studio.
Good voiceover talent can be difficult to find.

But being the industry leader has challenges. Not too long ago, there was no singular resource for voice talent and no pool of accepted wisdom for how to organize it. To better help clients connect with talent, co-founder and CEO David Ciccarelli has embarked on an ambitious site redesign, testing, and refining their site through multiple stages of prototyping. Ciccarelli says the results have been impressive so far:

“Through data analysis, user testing and remote user interviews, we found that the most common searches for voice talent could be categorized by language, age, and gender. Additionally, we found thousands of name searches, revealing that many users wanted to find a specific talent — perhaps even someone they worked with before.

That enabled us to rework the search engine to deliver more accurate search results. We also redesigned the header to make the search box more prominent, while also tweaking the search box itself.

Following the data to revise the site gave us great results. For visitors who conduct a search, we increased traffic to the user registration page by 13% — likely caused by a positive search experience. We also increased average time on the registration page by 33%, showing a higher intent to complete the form. Best of all, the percentage of registered users who log in and search increased from 20% to 51%. And, we’re not done yet. We’re on version 4 of our search results layout, which we hope to roll out in a couple of weeks.”

Whatever the Problem, Mobile App Prototyping is Part of the Solution

In the mobile app industry, there’s always a new challenge to meet and another problem to solve. Being able to mockup designs isn’t enough — you need a mobile app prototyping tool that can help your team get stakeholders on board this week, hunt down a bug next week, and test the finished UI at the end of the month.

Proto.io provides the flexibility, modern mobile design and development professionals need, elegantly meeting the challenges designers, developers, product managers, and entrepreneurs face. Whatever problem you’re facing, we can help you solve it.

Proto.io lets anyone build mobile app prototypes that feel real. No coding or design skills required. Bring your ideas to life quickly! Sign up for a free 15-day trial of Proto.io today and get started on your next mobile app design.

What problem has mobile app prototyping helped you solve? Let us know by tweeting us @Protoio!

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