Rapid prototyping activates product & service concepts into tangible, usable examples, refining your product vision with invaluable input from actual customer behaviors and preferences. Prototyping enables early, frequent learning cycles that move beyond opinions to the real-world actions of your customers, enabling you to:
- Validate with real customer actions
- Increase confidence in your product as it evolves from concept to reality
- Improve clarity about what must be true for a successful MVP launch
Refining Product Direction with Customer Evidence
Knowing what to build, and invest in, is best informed with customers involved at every stage. Rapid prototyping provides an outside-in perspective of what your customers do when they encounter your product or service. Understanding the context in which individuals will use your product—and what they're willing to exchange for its benefits—is crucial.
Validating Concepts and Refining Strategy
Rapid prototyping is essential in transitioning from value propositions and early concepts to readiness to build something real. It not only validates the product concept against real-world scenarios, but also refines the strategic approach based on direct feedback from end-users. Outcomes of this iterative process include:
- Enhanced Product Viability: Early user engagement ensures the product meets market demands and user expectations.
- Strategic Alignment: Prototypes align the product direction with business goals and user behaviors, ensuring every feature contributes to the overarching vision.
- Customer-Centric Solutions: Direct feedback loops help tailor the product to fit the specific, contextual needs of your customer segments, increasing the likelihood of adoption.
- Service Activation: SaaS platforms that need to integrate with service capabilities and lines of business are much more likely to succeed when staff are included in the process.
Accelerating Time to Market
Rapid prototyping significantly shortens the development cycle, offering a quicker path from concept to market readiness:
- Iterative Refinement: Continuous iterations enable swift adjustments based on user feedback, refining the product at a much faster pace.
- Risk Mitigation: Early detection of potential issues or market misalignments allows for adjustments before costly investments in full-scale development.
- Market Readiness: Prototyping helps in identifying and focusing on high-impact features, ensuring the product meets market needs upon launch.
- Team Enablement: By collaboratively creating essential prototype elements, cross-functional teams make early decisions together, gaining traction as a product team.
From Concept to Early Product
At Highland, our team uses a wide variety of rapid prototyping methods–from simple sketches to lean, functional product examples–allowing you to quickly test, make adjustments, and pin down product priorities and requirements. Our team works with yours to incorporate elements of the product such as key functionality, UX flows, business rules, UI design, data models, brand elements and messaging & tone.
Prototyping Just Enough
Our approach at Highland is a collaborative and user-centered process to craft prototypes that represent aspects of the envisioned product that need clarity, validation, or refinement. Steps include:
- Defining Learning Goals: We start by identifying goals for each prototype, focusing on specific features, user interactions, or market tests.
- Selecting the Right Tools: Utilizing a range of prototyping tools & fidelities, we design just enough stimuli to evaluate the specific criteria we need to hone.
- Incorporating User Feedback: Through usability testing and direct user interaction, we gather feedback to refine and adjust the prototypes iteratively.
We create experience maps, paper prototypes, conversion pages, wireframes, clickable prototypes, and low-code, functional prototypes as appropriate to learn rapidly and get to production sooner.
Streamlined, Collaborative Design
Our rapid prototyping process is designed to streamline product development and enhance efficiency:
- Collaborative Workshops: Engaging cross-functional teams in prototype development to ensure all aspects of product design, functionality, and user experience are covered.
- Not Just Designers Design: We involve staff members and even customers as participants in design process, using proven methods and workshops like design sprints to maximize skills and perspectives at hand.
- Functional and Market Testing: Beyond usability, we test prototypes for functional performance and market viability, assessing how well they solve the identified problem.
- Feedback Integration & Iteration: Continuously integrating user and stakeholder feedback, we iterate on the prototypes, progressively aligning with user and business needs.
Build to Learn and Focus
The ultimate goal is to develop something real, that delivers value to customers, and returns value to the business; getting to built product or working service as soon and confidently as possible.
- No Handoffs: Our prototyping process enables design to developers to work hand-in-hand, so as requirements and priorities are made clear, production can move forward seamlessly.
- Technical Feasibility Assessments: Early prototyping stages include evaluating technical feasibility, content, data, and business rules, ensuring that the envisioned features can be feasibly implemented.
- Build Lean to Learn Sooner: Clickable prototypes only go so far. We push for alphas and pilot digital products as soon as reasonable confidence in viability is present.
Rapid prototyping at Highland transforms concepts into tangible prototypes, accelerating development and aligning business goals. Our iterative approach, focused on user feedback and functional testing, ensures successful, market-ready products.