Your Virtual Guide To Successfully Prototyping Mobile Apps
Innovative ideas can come to your mind at any time. But the real challenge is to transform this unique idea into fully functional mobile applications that have the power to resolve the pain points of the end customers. But the entire process of taking an idea to execution is never easy. It can be proved by having a look at the study that claims that 77% of users never use an app 3 days after installing it.
One of the main aspects of app development is prototyping. Mobile app prototyping is an equally difficult task for both entrepreneurs and programmers. But in order to make this process easier, let’s explore the six crucial steps to successfully prototyping mobile apps. These steps can provide you with all the required tools to utilize your idea to the fullest while solving the problems along the way. Let’s begin.
1. Clearly Define Your Mobile App
First of all, you have to define what kind of mobile app you want to create. You should begin with asking yourself which pain points of the customers do you want to solve with the help of your app. Do not complicate this initial stage, but try to figure out what your app is expected to do, who will be your target customers, etc.
When thinking of prototyping, you have to clearly define its unique selling point (USP). That means the sole motive of your mobile app should be to solve a problem that many users are facing.
For instance, you want to build an app for connecting farmers with retailers who want to buy fresh, organic products. In such a case, the USP of this app could be to remove the need of a middleman or minimizing the uncertainties of irregular farmers’ market. At this stage, you can define this app is a simple manner like “P2P app to connect farmers and consumers”.
2. Research Extensively About Mobile Market
You might think that your idea is totally worthy, but in reality, it might not be as influential as you think it would be. Also, you have to present your innovative idea to the public and this is the reason that you require to do extensive research about the mobile market and its users. You can get a chance to know whether your idea is feasible in real life situation.
The research will give you a golden opportunity to understand the behaviour pattern of the end users. It will also ensure that you don’t plan to design something that is irrelevant. Also, you will get a chance to involve everybody else in the project such as stakeholders and a set of users.
You can develop an efficient survey with the help of tools like Typeform and gather responses to your queries. It will provide you with the capacity to collect both qualitative and quantitative information that can help you in making better and informed decisions. Also, there is no need for you to invest money in order to execute the research process.
3. Create Precise User Personas
With the help of research, you can get an idea of the market and where your app will fit in. But by creating precise user personas you can easily visualize who is your target audience actually.
Creating personas will help in properly planning the process of mobile app design and represent key user groups for your application. It also tells you about the specific requirements of the end users.
You should not ignore this stage, because user personas are mandatory tools in any designer’s arsenal and these personas can be developed properly only if you have done an appropriate research in the second stage.
4. Build A Wireframe Of The Mobile App Interface
Once you are done with research and user personas, the next stage is app wireframing. A wireframe is like a skeleton of your app that represents only its bone structure. Earlier people use to sketch wireframes with the help of pen and paper. But now the things have changed.
Nowadays, entrepreneurs and designers take help of different mobile app prototyping tools available in the market such as Justinmind, Marvelapp, InVision, etc. These tools have the potential with which wireframes can be whipped up in a few minutes.
Moreover, these tools facilitate interactive prototyping where you can easily modify the structure in order to get better usability. Also, these tools provide you with various mobile templates and UI stencil to pick from so that your wireframe will look authentic.
Wireframes will give you a clear idea of all the elements you want in your app. You can be clear in regard to its functionality and features. These mock-ups can be easily modified and can be used to get feedback in the early stages of app development.
5. Time To Test Your App
Once you are done with refining your wireframe, now it’s the time to test it. The testing phase is insightful and gives you an opportunity to tweak your app in accordance with the specific requirements.
Usability testing is an integral part of the testing process that determines how usable your mobile application is. Also, this process can give you useful insights into how users perform certain tasks, how they interact with the app functionality, and how they interpret label names.
It is an iterative phase that gives you a chance to learn from every user and tweak each version till the point where you attain optimal functionality. You can explore Usability Geek that can walk you through all the steps of how to do usability testing efficiently.
6. Modify & Refine Your Prototype
With the help of usability testing, you can gain new information and can discover hidden pain points. You might also find some issues in the navigation of your mobile app. Don’t worry, it’s quite normal. When doing usability testing, you must observe patterns and problems that your end customers experienced in their digital journey and note them down.
Finally, at this stage use the reviews and feedback given by your stakeholders and users. But it is really difficult to incorporate each and every suggestion. Therefore, implement that has the biggest impact and refine your prototype. Once it’s done, you will end up getting a working prototype of your mobile app and now you can move to further stages easily.
These six steps can guide you in transforming your raw idea into a robust wireframe and ultimately to a working prototype. With so many prototyping tools available, anyone can be an efficient prototyper as these tools are easy to use and are blessed with intuitive functionality.
Anubhuti Shrivastava is a content crafter at Arkenea, a custom software development company helping entrepreneurs and businesses build successful web and mobile apps. She is passionate about writing articles on topics related to design and the software development industry.