Who are your stakeholders or investors for your next mobile app and software prototype? Did you know that including them in the prototyping early-development stages is important and can help you save time and money on your project?
Keep reading to learn about how to involve investors and other stakeholders in your app development and how it’ll benefit all involved.
But first, what is an app and software prototyping?
App and software prototyping is a tangible visualization of your final app, created after the brainstorming and discovery phase. It’s a simplified version (wireframe-style without branding or graphics) of your final product that you can interact with to test functionality and usability. It’s also often the first visualization you have of the ideas in your head, so it can be exhilarating to see your ideas becoming reality (in addition to being an important part of the app development process).
After your prototype is created and approved, your software developers can begin coding and skinning the app to your brand.
Why prototypes are important
You could create your app without a prototype, but it’ll take longer and increase costs. Here are the top five reasons why creating an app prototype is essential in the app development process:
- It helps clarify your vision: You’ll get to visualize your ideas to see what they look like. You may discover missing pieces or that something doesn’t look or function as expected, so you can use the prototyping phase to clarify your specs.
- Supports faster iterations: Prototypes help you align with your developers to ensure you’re on the same page. It’s faster to make changes to a prototype than a coded application, so changes now help ensure faster iterations in the app development later.
- Helps you test functionality and flow: You can use your prototype to test the functionality and flow to ensure it matches your expectations (and make changes early if the process doesn’t work as expected).
- It’s low risk (to save time and money): Making changes to a prototype is much cheaper than changing coded apps. A prototype is a low-risk step when you can make as many changes as you need to be satisfied without worrying about skyrocketing costs.
- Stakeholders want it: Your stakeholders likely want to monitor your progress. A prototype can show them what the app will look and feel like.
Why investors play an important role in the app and software prototyping process
Chances are your investors want to (or are legally entitled to) be involved in the app development process. A prototype is an easy way to involve stakeholders early in the process.
App prototypes can be shown to your investors, who can provide their opinions and feedback early in the process. If you have particularly hands-on investors, this is important to save you time and money. Their feedback early in the process, when it’s faster and cheaper to make changes, ensures they get their say in the development process, but you don’t get stuck with an inflating bill from your developers.
How to impress your stakeholders with app and software prototyping
Whether you have already secured their investment or are seeking it now, you must impress your investors with your prototype. Here are five reasons app prototypes will impress your investors:
Ask for their opinion
Sometimes, just being asked to provide feedback (whether you have a legal agreement or not) can make your investors happy. It tells them that you are taking their investment seriously and value their feedback.
You’re providing proof of progress
Even the most seasoned investor wants to know their investment is safe. Showing them your prototype tells them you’re moving forward in the right direction and are taking the necessary steps to create a good app that meets the needs of your target market.
You’re being mindful and responsible with their investment
No investor wants you to squander their money. Prototypes, while they may add additional steps to the app development process, will save you money in future development stages as you’re working out the “kinks” early when it’s cheaper to make changes. This shows financial awareness and responsibility, which investors expect from you.
Many investors are visual learners
Your investors may have little or no specialized knowledge of your niche or industry. Sketches on a cocktail napkin may not be enough for them to see the app and understand how it works. A prototype helps your more visual investors see and play with a tangible product (interactive prototype), which can help them better understand your whole vision for the end product.
They get to be beta testers (with perks)
Your investors or stakeholders are essentially beta testers of your app. We suggest getting investors and potential end users to test the app during prototyping. The goal is to collect as much feedback as possible early and implement the suggestions and changes that will create the best user experience within the capabilities of the code and your budget.
How to create an app prototype
For business owners who are not tech-savvy but have great ideas, the Idea to Prototype Workshop from Twelfth Dream is for you. During this one-on-one workshop, you’ll get the support needed to materialize your game-changing idea and transform it into a prototype to offer a delightful experience appealing to future users.
This is a hands-on, 8-week workshop, and by the end, you’ll have developed your own interactive prototype. You’ll get expert instruction led by Mahdi Sahebnasagh, the founder of Twelfth Dream and a senior product designer and business analyst. He understands both the business and technical worlds and speaks their languages. He has been the co-founder of startups such as Kindermeals and Upplery.
Our next workshop start date is November 1, so register today for the Idea to Prototype Workshop.