Where Prototypes Fail: 8 Common prototyping pitfalls

Without the need to overcomplicate things, we’ve seen a typical project start with the following three steps. Given enough preproduction and the right people included in every phase, it will set you up for success:

1. Research
Start with research — crunching through the client’s data, existing products and services, analytics, and competitor analysis. This research phase can vary in length based on the amount of existing data and the maturity of the product (and the team behind it).

2. Design Sprint
Kick off projects with a dedicated on-site workshop where you invite all major stakeholders to take part. Through this five-day process, Design Sprint covers discovery, ideation, sketching, prototyping, and, finally, testing. This process has been extensively promoted by Google Ventures Design Studio, although it was originally conceived by IDEO and Institute of Design at Stanford. Empirically we’ve learned that producing something tangible as early as possible helps in aligning with clients’ ideas and validating initial concepts. This is how to get to that step, quickly.

3. Design
The Sprint is an intensive but immensely rewarding week followed by a more typical design process with a dedicated user experience and visual design phase. In both of these phases, our designers create new prototypes, building on the previous ones and extending with flows, features, and UI design.
It’s not uncommon that in this cycle we create at least three to four prototypes. While this is cool and all, let’s explore what can potentially go wrong — where prototypes slow down the team, over promise, and, in the end, fail.

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