We all know how essential prototyping is in product development. If done the correct way, it can save a lot of time, reduce the development costs to almost half, and give a complete overview of how the final product will look like. Apart from this, prototyping also makes it easy for us to incorporate the suggestions of clients right from the beginning, since it’s very easy to make changes in the prototype.
So, in simple words, prototyping makes product development a lot easier. But the difficult part is to get it done right. We don’t just have to get the prototypes of the product done, but also ensure that we are choosing the approach which benefits our clients the most.
Approaches to Prototyping: Software vs Hand-coded Prototyping
There are two ways we can create the prototype of a product: Software Prototyping and Hand-coded prototyping. Let’s talk about both in detail:
What is Software Prototyping?
In Software prototyping we use tools like Invision, MarvelApp, and Adobe XD to build product prototypes. It is the most common form of prototyping and is very easy. We can build prototypes quickly in it without much fuss. All we need is to select the predefined templates and then attaching user flow and behaviors to the UI components.
Note: We can even create prototypes from scratch. However, your options may be limited.
Advantages of Software Prototyping
Realistic Interactions: The prototypes built using this approach are so realistic that we can almost compare the user interaction with the final product.
Flexibility: We can start with testing the basic prototypes and move forward as the design process moves forward.
Speed: Prototypes can be developed faster in software prototyping.
Disadvantages of Software Prototyping
Learning Curve: Before we start building prototype, we will have to master the software first. Hence, using the software to its maximum capability and creating compelling prototypes.
Lost in transition: Not every functionality turns out to be as expected while translating the designs into code. Some functionality may be lost in transition and we may need to fix everything from the beginning once again.
In hand-coded prototyping approach, we create prototypes from the scratch in HTML. It is more suited for designers who are confident in their coding skills.
Advantages of Hand-coded Prototyping
Technical foundation for the final product: Since we are building the prototype in code, not just creating a throwaway prototype – HTML prototyping offers the necessary groundwork for the final code right from the beginning. This a lot of time, money, and energy can be saved.
Platform agnostic: The prototype can be tested from just about any OS or device.
Low cost: The best thing about HTML prototyping is that we don’t really need any software for creating the prototypes. All we need is to have good HTML coding skills. This can save a lot of time and money, and hence it can be a great option for teams that are low on budget.
The prototype quality is heavily dependent on designers’ skills
We become heavily dependent on your designer’s coding skills for the quality of prototypes. If the designer is not skilled enough, the quality of the prototypes might suffer.
Creativity gets limited
During HTML prototyping, our focus is usually only on two things: designing and coding. This creates a tunnel vision in which we can completely forget user experience. As a result, creativity gets limited and we remain stuck to only a few ideas.
Software Prototyping vs Hand-coded Prototyping: Which One You Should Choose?
- Software prototyping is best for creating realistic prototypes which are almost close to the real product. It will allow you to test your prototypes for real functionality.
- If budget is not a concern and we can afford costly tools and training for designers, Software prototyping can be a great go-to option.
- We should choose Hand-coded prototyping only if we are confident that the designers in our team are capable of coding In HTML with perfection and they will face no issues during prototype creation.
- Software prototyping is well suited for products which are more like UI/UX based and where functionality plays a minimal role, e.g. a website for product/business promotion or any informative website.
- Hand-coded prototyping is well-suited for products where functionality is going to play a major role along with the user experience. For example: An online cab booking app.
- We should use hand-coded prototyping when we want to make things easier for the development team later on.
- We should choose hand-coded prototyping if we want our final prototype to be the same when a product is made on it, and don’t want any functionality while translating the design prototypes into code.
- Go for software prototyping if you want creative freedom while creating the prototypes of our product. Hand-coded prototyping has some creative restrictions when it comes to building the prototypes.
In simple words, there is no better in software vs hand-coded prototyping because both approaches have their own pros and cons. So, choosing one among them will not be easy. Now, the decision whether you should go with software prototyping or hand-coded prototyping depends on our requirements and the resources we have.
Which Prototyping Approach We Follow at Softobiz?
At Softobiz we use both the approaches for building prototypes, and the choice depends on the type of project and the requirements of our clients.
The MVP & Prototyping process we follow at Softobiz is a long. We don’t just go and choose which prototype building method we should follow. Instead, we first note down the requirements of our client and then observe the project. Finally, only after when we have enough data and stats, we decide which approach we should follow. Know more about our MVP & Prototype building approach.