Designing a prototype can be difficult and whether you are new to the product manufacturing industry or just a newbie, you must know what exactly a prototype is and what does it provide for your project.
Using prototyping services, a prototype is a replica of a product that is used as a test model or the preliminary model that undergoes several testing procedures. Once passed, you can use your prototype to get feedback from stakeholders, people who you want to invest in your idea, and your target audience.
That being said, the prototyping process goes through several stages to model and evaluate what works. From coming up with an idea to pitching your prototype, all steps are to be considered essential to help you achieve and deliver a high-quality product.
The following are 4 tips that can help you in designing a project for your prototype.
A Prototype Is NOT The Goal, But A Tool
Eureka! – An idea popping in your head is essentially the first step in designing a prototype. If you’ve experienced that Eureka moment, then there are probably times when you can’t remember your idea once you have the intent to share it. That being said, always write down your ideas because ideas fly really fast.
A challenging alternative is coming up with an idea for your project. You have to spend a lot of time brainstorming, answering questions about what your product is for, your ideal design, and how it would benefit your audience.
Here are some guide questions that can help you in determining the objective of your project and its capacity.
- What are the objective/s and expectation/s of your project?
- Who will benefit from your project?
- When do you intend to finish your project?
Having answers for these questions is only the beginning and only provides the foundation of your idea. There are numerous factors to consider in your project and sometimes you don’t even need a prototype if it isn’t needed.
With consideration of factors such as top design trends in the market, customer needs, usability, cost, and your current position in the market, you must streamline your idea generation process. You can do this by doing thorough research by understanding the potential product’s value and manufacturing cost and process.
Also, gaining feedback from your team will give you some valuable insights into your project’s technical and marketing.
Again, your prototype is not the goal but is merely the tool to show the what, who and how of your project. These are essential components in creating the foundation of your project by addressing the problems that people are currently facing in your target niche, and how your product can solve them.
Sketch Before You Build
This may seem like common sense, but there are some people who couldn’t resist the adrenaline rush of their ideas and started tinkering on their project. Nothing is wrong with the intention but always remember that you can be more efficient if you work hard and smart. Also, by creating a rough representation of your idea, you can track your progress on your project.
For efficiency’s sake, you must first do some extensive research and finalize your idea before you put it on a piece of paper or virtually on a computer program. Creating a concept sketch will help you visualize your prototype in greater detail. As expected in the early stages, you will have a lot of ideas running in your head and you’ll save time by sketching it on paper or digitally drawing it.
Also, having a sketch in the early stages serves as documentation when submitting your patent and defending your ownership of your intellectual property.
Utilize Digital Design Tools
There are many designer tools such as AutoCAD, used by engineers and other professionals, to make both 2D and 3D renderings. Sketching your prototype is only efficient for concept purposes. When you have already finalized your design, you opt for digital design tools that can accurately visualize your prototype.
Application tools such as NVIDIA Iray, CATIA Live Rendering, and Quadro can transform your 3D drawing into a photorealistic prototype. These tools can help you visualize the outcome of your idea. They also serve as a preliminary step in building a physical prototype.
Learn by Doing
Just when everything looks perfect on paper, you notice something’s not right in your physical prototype. Every innovator encounters this problem because it is one of the most important aspects of design thinking. This is why you must allow enough time for your project. You never know how many roadblocks you encounter in redesigning your prototype to meet desired expectations.
Several issues you may encounter are:
- Structural and functional problems
- Aesthetic issues
- Expanding functionality
- Changing of trends in the market
Depending on the complexity of your project, you may need to construct many prototypes. Therefore, start your first prototype with less expensive materials to save money while fixing design flows. As your design improves, you can eventually pour money into the final prototype that replicates your actual product. Consequently, it is shown and gained feedback from investors, stakeholders, and consumers.
The tips that you have just read will help you in designing a project for a prototype of your product. From brainstorming to considering prototyping services, each step in launching a product is important and is associative with one another. You should not only invest your time in brainstorming and planning for implementation and allot effort in understanding feedback.
The feedback from your audience reflects the current trends in product design and consideration will only bring improvement to your project. Your prototype will always have room for improvement therefore you should never stop updating your product. Your product may undergo some changes in order to be effectively launched in the market. This is also to keep up with the ever-changing industry.
Bonus Tip: When you have finalized your product, be sure to apply for a patent within a year before production to protect your intellectual property and prevent plagiarism.