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Smashing UX Design: Foundations for Designing Online User Experiences by Jesmond Allen, James Chudley

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Chapter 18: Using Prototypes to Bring Your Ideas to Life

Prototyping has always been an important part of the design process in both digital and physical product design. It is inevitable that at some point designers will need to visualize their ideas. Prototyping provides an ideal method of doing this to share our vision with colleagues and client audiences and of course with users.

The recent boom in the UX market has seen a growth in the production of software aimed at UX designers. There are now numerous prototyping tools that are available for the non-technical UX designer to build and share high-fidelity prototypes with project stakeholders. This growth in tools reinforces the fact that prototyping has never been more important given the interactive nature of the products and services we design.

This chapter explores the pros and cons of prototyping and shows you the different types of prototypes that you can create to suit your own projects.

What are prototypes?

Prototypes represent the first building blocks of a digital product. They can take many forms, from basic paper mock-ups to more complicated prototypes that can be used on their intended device. They give you the chance as the designer to explore your ideas and to bring them to life quickly and cheaply. They allow you to make mistakes early and learn what you need to do to create an acceptable final product.

In the physical product world, prototyping is a critical process. It allows people to understand the form ...

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