If you’re developing any sort of product, then you might find that building a prototype is among the most expensive and time consuming parts of the process – after all, you’re building a unique item from scratch – and if you’ve missed something along the way. Fortunately, technology has handed us a means of sidestepping these problems – digital prototyping. Let’s examine some of the benefits digital prototyping might yield.
First and foremost in the mind of many manufacturers will be the cost associated with prototyping a product. Digital prototyping helps to minimise the actual building of things – which in turn reduces both the labour required during the process, and the materials.
Likewise, digital prototyping will help to ensure that this stage of production is as short as possible. This helps to keep the product development cycle short, which allows manufacturers to be more agile when it comes to getting those products to market.
The pen-and-paper designs of the past are still terribly useful in many respects, but they lack the ability to be easily manipulated. A digital prototype can be tweaked ad infinitum, and multiple versions of it can sit in storage, to be worked on using a range of different devices.
Since digital prototyping can be conducted more quickly, it follows that the prototyping stage of production can be a great deal more thorough. The result is products that are superior to those which has to deal with the creaking unwieldiness of a traditional project.
A modern digital prototype can be created to extremely fine tolerances – far tighter than those we might find in the real world. This allows us to accurately model how a real production version of the device in question might function – without going to the trouble of actually building it.
In a modern manufacturer, it’s likely that an entire design team will be working together on a single prototype. Being able to all work on the same data simultaneously is therefore invaluable – and a good digital prototyping package will afford exactly this luxury.
One of the most important functions of the prototyping phase is to ensure that the product works as it’s supposed to, and that any initial flaws are ironed out before the product goes into production. Since digital prototyping is quicker, it follows that we can get more tests in before this stage of production is abandoned.
Of course, there’s a reason that digital prototyping has thus far been the sole preserve of larger businesses – the software and the expertise necessary to work it are difficult to implement on smaller scales. But this is steadily changing, with digital prototyping technology becoming ever more accessible – even at the smaller end of the spectrum.
2 Min Read
Published: 7 February 2017
Steve is the resident UI/UX expert at Actuate. Steve use's our client persona's to design engaging websites and conversion driven ecommerce solutions.