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Design for Software: A Playbook for Developers by Erik Klimczak

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Chapter 6: Prototyping

“The client just doesn’t get it”

SO YOU’VE MADE it this far, and if you hung with me you’ve generated a good amount of design assets. Now it’s time to roll everything up into one holistic unit and bring it to life. So far, all of the assets you’ve created have been static. And although static assets like wireframes and storyboards play a crucial role during the design process, they do leave something to be desired. Things like interactivity, movement, timing, and animation are really important for making “the light bulb go off” when communicating your idea.

That last bit is important—“make the light bulb to go off.” Technology-related design work is complicated by nature. And no matter how good your wireframes and documentation are, nothing elicits more genuine feedback than a functional prototype. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve generated wireframes and application flows and gotten client approval. Then when given the app, the client disappointingly mumbles, “Hmmm . . . I didn’t think it was going to work like this.” Shocked, I think to myself, this is exactly what was in the wireframes. But that’s okay; that’s the whole point. The goal is to eliminate any discrepancies before you get into full-blown production.

But take a step back—like all the tools and techniques in this part of the book, prototypes are another tool for communicating ideas (arguably the best tool). Almost anything can be prototyped—UI design, application functionality, or even ...

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