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Prototype

Why questionaires and most interviews are useless

When your customer has no experience with you or your product, its very hard to ask questions that generate a relevant answer. When you come up with a new product and you describe its benefits to potential customers and you ask them: "Would you like to buy this product? And how much would you like to pay for it"? When 50% of your customers say "Yes" and the average price the are willing to pay is 15 euro, how reliable will that information be? I say 100% not reliable. 

When your customers have no experience with you or with your product or your customers are not even aware of the problem you want to solve, the answer you are going to get is highly hypothetical and therefore probably not reliable. You don't want to know what you customer thinks that he or she will do, you want to know what you customer does when he or she is offered the chance to buy in into your proposition. In other words, you want your customers to hit the proverbial buy button

When you are able to create a customer experience whereby the customer believes that your value proposition is real AND the customer is able to make a BUY decision (so he or she is ready to sacrifice money/time/information), then you really know what the buy intention of your customer is.

So always try to create a real experience, whereby your customer need to make a real (buy)decision. Thats why the actual prototype is so important. It can help create a real user experience.

(c) ndw 2014

Choose the best solution and refine by prototyping

When you have chosen the solution you want to go with, it's time for you to create something your customer can relate to. A prototype can have any form of shape, as long as the "product/service experience" for the customer is real. The customer should be able to experience your value proposition (or an important part thereof). 

If you can't recreate a full customer experience, you can check your critical assumptions and use prototyping to validate your most critical assumptions one by one.

You can chose one or more ways to create a prototype:
  • Create an actual working model of your product, website, app or software;
  • Create a mock-up or wire model of your product, website, app or software;
  • Create drawings or pictures of your product, website, app or software;
  • Create a presentation or animation of your service, product, website, app or software;
  • Create a movie of your service, product, website, app or software;
  • Create a website for your service, product, website, app or software;
  • Create a flyer or leaflet of your service, product, website, app or software;
  • Create a life show or pitch of your service, product, website, app or software;
For physical products this means that you'll need to put together a (functional) model of your final product, that has the most essential features and benefits. Use sheet plastic, cardboard, sticks, pens en clear tape to get an idea of what the final product looks like and what it can do.

For software products you can do modelling of screens in power-point or wire-frame models for functionality. For services you can create an animation, movie or landing page for customers on the internet, with or without fake "buy" buttons.

The main goal for prototyping is finding out whether customers believe your product is desirable and if so what are they willing to sacrifice to acquire the product or service. 

At the end of the Prototype Phase you'll have a:

  • Prototype, model or demo of your product or service that gives the customer an impression of:
    • the benefits of the product or service;
    • the features of the product or service;
    • the experience the will have when they acquire the product or service;
    • the value of the product or service;
    • the cost of the product or service;

Research process and methods:

  • PLAN:
    • Orientation: formulate required outcome of this design phase
      • brainstorm
    • Strategy: formulate creative strategy
      • choose prototyping method(s)
      • substantiate choices
      • plan activities
    DO:
    • Prototype design
      • functionality (benefits and features)
      • user experience
      • "buy button"
    • Prototype creation
      • technical specification
      • manufacturing
      • artwork
    CHECK:
    • Test prototype
      • functionality
      • user experience
    ACT:
    • Adjust prototype when necessary and test again
      • assess functionality and user experience
      • apply critical thinking
      • determine the actual outcome of the creative process
    REFLECT:
    • Review creative process
      • review
      • reflect
      • act to adjust general creative strategy

Google paper prototyping

Prototyping and model making

How to make cardboard prototypes

How to get a prototype made


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