A team of marketers is only as good as its product. And the product is only as good as its prototype. I’ve seen a lot of prototypes in my time and know that it’s easy to miss some key elements, even when you think a prototype has been finalized.
Luckily, there are ways to produce a prototype that accurately depicts the final product. Here are 19 things that many teams miss during the prototyping process:
|1. Prototype development is a critical phase for marketers.|
|2. Attention to detail can prevent common oversights.|
|3. User experience should drive design decisions.|
|4. Effective communication between teams is essential.|
|5. Market research helps tailor prototypes to the target audience.|
|6. Addressing user pain points leads to better products.|
|7. Regular testing and iteration refine prototypes.|
|8. Visual aesthetics impact user perception.|
|9. Feedback from stakeholders guides improvements.|
|10. Legal and compliance considerations are important.|
1. Trusting The Prototype Too Soon
It should go without saying that a prototype is not the final product. It’s meant to be a learning tool, and you should use it as such. A prototype doesn’t have to be perfect for you to learn from it.
If you think about your prototype as representing something that could potentially become reality, then it’s easier for you to see how much more work needs to be done before launch day arrives.
Every time I’ve seen clients get too attached to their prototypes and assume they’re ready for prime time, the project has taken longer than expected and sometimes even longer than anticipated by contractually obligated deadlines!
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2. Don’t Take The Design For Granted
We’ve all heard the saying, “don’t judge a book by its cover.” The same can be said for your product. Design is more than just how it looks and feels to the user. It’s also how the user interacts with it.
If you’re not thinking about those interactions when designing, then you’re missing out on some of the most important aspects of your product’s design.
Design can mean different things to different people, so let me clarify what I mean when I say “design”:
The design includes color schemes, fonts, logos, and other aesthetic elements that make up the overall look and feel of a website or app.
Design involves how customers can navigate through an interface (UI/UX). For example: Is there enough room between buttons? How large do buttons need to be for users with low vision to not miss them?
Are there any areas where visual cues aren’t clear enough so that users aren’t sure if they need to click or tap again?
Finally and most importantly design also includes functionality: How does this feature work? What does it do?
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3. Not Incorporating Feedback From Users Early On
We’re sure you already know that user feedback is an important part of the product development process.
You probably know that incorporating it into your prototype will help you improve the product and marketing funnel. But did you know that taking action on user feedback can also help improve your testing process?
This is because user feedback can provide valuable insight into how users think about a prototype, as well as their overall experience with it.
For example, if your goal is to test whether or not people prefer using one button over another when they interact with an app, then getting positive reviews from users who tested out both options will allow you to confidently conclude that one method would work better than another in practice.
Marketers need to understand this because any changes made during prototype development can have a big impact on how successful future tests are.
If something isn’t working well enough during early testing phases or if there are problems with the way prototypes were built then these issues may not come up until later stages when more people try them out (and it’ll be harder to fix).
4. Not Investing In High-Quality Designs
To create a product that delights your users, you need to take the time and effort to develop high-quality designs.
The design should be consistent throughout the entire product experience, from their website through their app or product. It should also be easy for users to understand what is going on during each part of their journey with your company (and if it isn’t, change it!).
It’s also important that these designs are easy to use if they aren’t intuitive, then even if they’re technically correct (which is not always the case), they will often lead customers down a confusing path that goes nowhere.
Lastly, these designs must be memorable if someone can remember them quickly without having seen them before then this means more conversions when people see similar products later on down the line!
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5. Developing A Prototype That Doesn’t Relate To Your Brand
As you go through the process of developing a prototype, you may find yourself making some assumptions about how your target user will respond to it. As a result of these assumptions, you might create something that doesn’t reflect your brand or product in any way.
To make sure this doesn’t happen to you:
Be consistent with your brand. This is important because if people look at your prototype and see something inconsistent with who they think you are (or what they think of when they hear about your business).
Then they’re going to have a hard time trusting the rest of what comes next. If someone sees an ugly-looking website for a pet care app or a funny-looking mobile game for an insurance company.
Then there’s going to be questions about whether or not those companies would offer quality products or services even if those companies could offer such things as part of their business model!
Be consistent with your product/service offering and target audience(s). For example, if we’re talking about an online store where people can purchase shoes online but only want women’s shoes available in black so that everyone can easily find them;
Then maybe it makes sense not just because those colors go together but also because most shoppers tend towards darker hues anyway especially during colder months when there isn’t much sunlight outside anyway!
6. Focusing On Features Instead Of Benefits
There are a lot of things you can do to make sure your product is the best it can be. You could focus on features, for example:
- What does the product do?
- How does it work?
That’s all well and good, but focusing on these questions misses the point. The only thing that should matter in a prototype is how your target audience will benefit from using it. So instead of asking yourself what your product *is*, ask yourself:
- How will this benefit my customers?
- What problems does my product solve?
7. Poor Communication With Team Members
Communication is the key to success and a successful product, so you must communicate effectively with your team.
You need to communicate the right information promptly so that everyone on your team understands what they need to be working on and where they fit into the larger picture. Let’s look at some examples:
If you’re working on a marketing campaign, don’t just send an email telling people how great it is give them specifics about what they’ll be doing, when they’ll begin, etc.
If someone is having trouble completing their part of the project for some reason (maybe there are too many distractions), talk about ways that person might solve this problem and get back on track as soon as possible (e.g., going into their office for an hour).
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8. Not Understanding How Your Product Will Be Used In Real Life
You should know how your product will be used in real life.
You should understand how the product will be used in real life.
When developing any software, it’s important to understand how it’ll work for the people who use it and what challenges they might encounter when using your product.
Make sure you test your prototype with actual users so that you can see what works and what doesn’t work for them.
You should also make sure that the final version of your product is easy to use, easy to understand, easy to learn, and easy to remember by those who need it most (in this case: those who are new).
9. Thinking That More Is Better
You might be tempted to add every feature you can think of, but resist that urge. Focus on the most important features and make sure those are the first things your users see.
If you have a lot of features, create a roadmap so they know what they can expect in later versions of your product.
Make sure the roadmap is easy to understand the average person doesn’t want details about how exactly a feature works; they just want an idea of when it will be available and why it’s important for them to use right now.
If you do have way too many features (and this isn’t unheard of), make sure that your user interface is intuitive enough so that people can find what they need without getting overwhelmed by all the options available at once or losing track.
Because everything looks similar enough where there could be multiple different ways something works depending on whether or not someone wants something specific done but not necessarily why that would happen in this particular case versus another one with some slight differences…
10. Designing A Product With Too Many Limitations
There are a few ways to avoid this mistake. First, design for the customer, not for yourself or your company.
If you’re building something that will be used by other people, don’t make assumptions about what they want and need based on what you think is best. Instead, try to look at things from their perspective and ask questions like:
- What do they want?
- How can we create something that helps them get it?
It’s also important to avoid designing for the market/competition/future at all costs.
Focus on creating something useful now a product that meets certain needs of your potential users right now and doesn’t worry about how it might evolve in the future or how competitors will react (or not).
11. No Consistency In Prototypes Throughout The Planning Process
If you want to get the most out of customer feedback, incorporate it into your prototype early on.
Don’t design in a vacuum and then throw it over the fence for your customer service team to implement.
The UI (User Interface) is a very important part of your product, and while they might not be designers themselves, they need to know what’s coming down the pipe so they can help prep it for production or handle any issues that come up during testing (and there are always going to be issued).
Be sure that whatever tool you’re using allows for multiple people within an organization (or even across organizations) access at once without compromising security measures like password protection, etc.,
Which could lead users astray by making them believe their input was being taken seriously when all you wanted was their data so that another team member could use it later without having any idea where it came from originally.”
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12. Compromising Usability Too Much For Aesthetics Or Branding
Your product’s usability is the most important aspect of the prototype. It’s the first thing the customer will see and feel, so it better be good. When people use your product, they want to know that there is a clear path for them to complete their task.
They also want to know that if they get stuck, there are ways for them to figure out what’s next (usually through tooltips or onboarding). A well-designed prototype makes this easy for users by guiding them through each step of their journey in an intuitive way.
13. Shifting Focus Away From Your Customer’s Needs And Wants
Make sure you’re not forgetting about your customer or the needs and wants they have. Here are some of the biggies:
Needs: These are things that must be included in your product to make it useful and helpful to customers. The best example of a need is probably food (and water). You can’t survive without it!
Wants: These are specific items or features that people want out of the products they use but aren’t necessary for them to use effectively.
For example, most people would probably love to have a flying car in real life, but we don’t need one right now because we have other modes of transportation available to us (such as cars).
Pain points: These are things that frustrate users when they try to accomplish their goals with your product and usually cause them great frustration when they’re unable or unwilling to do so!
In UX design terms, pain points often manifest themselves as roadblocks within an interface that prevent people from completing tasks easily (think drop-down menus where all options start with “A” instead of alphabetically ordered options).
14. Testing In The Wrong Way Or At The Wrong Time
You’re testing in the wrong way or at the wrong time.
Testing is an essential part of any product development process, but it’s important to test with the right people, at the right time, and with the right method. Here are some tips on how to get it right:
Test with people who will tell you what they think no matter what. People who won’t sugarcoat their answers are those that will help you find out where something doesn’t work as well as others do.
They’ll also give you ideas of how things could be improved because they’re not afraid to speak up when something isn’t working for them; this is extremely valuable information for designers and developers who want their product ideas to succeed!
Find out if your prototype works before more resources are invested into it;
If it doesn’t, stop wasting time and money trying scenarios that won’t work out in practice (which could mean spending weeks designing something without even knowing whether or not consumers would want/buy/use it).
15. Aiming For Perfection Instead Of Progress
When you get stuck on one thing, it’s easy to get stuck in the trap of perfectionism. For example, let’s say your prototype is almost done but one section isn’t quite what you want it to be. If that happens, don’t be afraid to take a step back and reevaluate before moving forward with the project. You can solve this by asking for feedback from others around you or trying something new instead of trying again and again until it works perfectly.
Aiming for perfection doesn’t help anyone: not yourself, not your team, and certainly not your product! Perfectionism stops progress altogether because it makes us afraid of making mistakes or admitting failure (which are both okay).
Instead of getting caught up in trying to do things “right,” just keep going! As long as what ends up on screen (or paper) is better than where we started and it usually gets better that’s good enough.
16. Actual Functionality
The actual functionality is the most important part of a prototype. It’s what makes a product useful and valuable to customers, and it’s the very thing that can make or break its success.
Why? Because if your product doesn’t do something useful, then it has no value at all no one will want to buy it! And if they don’t buy it, you’ll have wasted all of your time and money.
- Users who use your product will be more likely to share their experiences with others (because they’re enthusiastic about it), which means you’ll get more traffic and attention online;
- You can test out certain features before adding them in permanently;
- If there are any bugs or issues with functionality during testing phases, they’ll be easier for you as developers to fix since everything hasn’t been completed yet anyway (but still needs fixing).
17. Branding & Identity
Branding and identity are the most important part of your product. A user is already looking at a screen, so you must make sure that the first impression is impactful and cohesive.
Brand consistency means ensuring all aspects of your product from design to copywriting to voice are consistent with one another and with your brand as a whole.
If you’re launching a new product, this means creating a style guide for yourself and your team that helps keep everyone on the same page throughout the design process so they’re able to create pieces that fit together seamlessly.
18. Insight & Research
The first step in the process of creating a product is research. Without it, you’re building blindly and hoping for the best. You need to know who you are designing for and what they want from your product before moving forward. Each step in this process builds on top of the last one:
The more information you have about your users, competitors, brand, and market the better able we’ll be able to design a product that meets their needs at every turn.
It’s like building a house: if you build it on sand instead of solid ground (or concrete), then everything will fall apart eventually because there are no real foundations supporting everything else above ground level
19. Visual Properties
User experience design is all about making sure users can easily and quickly accomplish their goals.
Visual properties are one of the most important parts of this process because they’re what users see in your product’s prototype. If you get them wrong, it can make it harder for users to accomplish their tasks.
You might be thinking: “That’s easy enough! Just use good visual design!” But when it comes down to it, there are a lot of things that marketers miss out on when they think about visual properties. Here are four examples that could help you avoid this mistake:
Good prototyping means setting clear goals, collecting accurate data, and getting input from the right people to ensure that your product is usable, marketable, and viable in the long term.
If you do it right, creating a prototype will help you identify potential problems with your product faster so that you can fix them before you spend time or money on manufacturing or marketing.
Explore these additional resources for more insights on related topics:
Phase 1 Prototypes Blog Short Description: Discover a variety of articles covering prototype development, design strategies, and industry insights on the Phase 1 Prototypes blog.
Product School – Overcoming Product Development Challenges Short Description: Dive into the challenges and solutions of product development through informative articles on the Product School blog.
From Stunt to Substance: 4 Strategies for Powerful Marketing Short Description: Fast Company provides valuable strategies for creating impactful marketing campaigns that go beyond mere stunts and resonate with your audience.
What are the key considerations in product prototype development?
Creating an effective product prototype involves factors like design, functionality, user experience, and materials, which collectively contribute to the success of your product.
How can I tackle challenges in product development?
Understanding common product development challenges, such as feature prioritization and resource allocation, can help you implement effective strategies to overcome them.
What makes marketing strategies powerful and impactful?
Effective marketing strategies focus on substance rather than just attention-grabbing stunts, emphasizing meaningful connections with the target audience and delivering real value.
How do I ensure my marketing efforts resonate with customers?
Engaging with customers’ needs, preferences, and pain points through market research and personalized approaches can lead to more resonant and effective marketing campaigns.
What role do user insights play in product strategy?
Incorporating user insights into product strategy helps align your offerings with customer demands, enhancing the likelihood of delivering products that meet their needs and expectations.
Costantine Edward is a digital marketing expert, freelance writer, and entrepreneur who helps people attain financial freedom. I’ve been working in marketing since I was 18 years old and have managed to build a successful career doing what I love.