One of the primary benefits of using a tool like ProtoShare versus coding a UI prototype is that it allows you to iterate much more quickly on a design idea. This is particularly important in the early stages of a design, when new requirements are emerging in near real-time, and major changes are needed fast. Wireframe design and application prototyping should be quick and easy, not something that slows you down.
Without the ability to quickly pivot and present several alternative approaches to your stakeholders, designs can begin to feel constrained by the prototype itself, and the risk of delivering a compromised final user experience will likely increase.
With a coded prototype, these design constraints are often imposed by the technical limitations of the chosen development framework, but you must also consider the increased cost of making changes, as well as your developers’ reluctance to throw away something that they have become highly invested in.
Furthermore, the notion that you can save time and money by re-using prototype UI code in your final product must be weighed carefully against the reality that writing production quality code requires planning, intense concentration, and often unexpected amounts of time to get minute details working. Until you are fully committed to a design concept, there is a great risk in jumping into a specific implementation early on in your design process.
When we conceived of ProtoShare, one of our main goals was to create a tool that would minimize design investment while still providing a project’s stakeholders with enough fidelity to experience a concept as if it were “real”. We wanted to be able to make rich, tangible, interactive designs, without focusing on the technical details that often lead to over-investment in immature solutions.
While many of our customers report a reduction in re-work and accelerated development times, we are always looking for ways to make ProtoShare even faster to use and more accessible to new users. The reality is that even when using a code-free prototyping tool, achieving high levels of fidelity and modeling complex interactions still takes time and attention to detail. Anything we can do to further reduce design investment, will result in faster iterations and ultimately greater returns.
Recognizing this, we have recently launched an updated version of our online Wireframe Stencils Library. With this new library, we now offer users thousands of pre-built elements that have a high level of fidelity and/or interactivity baked-in. Using these building blocks can greatly reduce the amount of configuration, and thus design investment, required to deliver a compelling design idea to your stakeholders.