Over the past month, I've been conducting interviews with many of our agency partners, clients, and colleagues to gather their feedback and deepen our understanding of the industry we serve. The things I've been hearing are both affirming and challenging, and I'm excited to begin to apply their insights to a variety of things—from how we work to the kinds of content we create. While I'm naturally cautious and unlikely to rush into things, I don't want to waste any time in acting upon feedback if there's something I can do differently right now. In fact, I'm starting with this article, which I've written in direct response to some particularly wonderful feedback I received from our friends at Callahan Creek in one of these interviews just a couple of weeks ago.
The gist of it was this: There is still come confusion about how designers should interpret prototypes, resulting in many unanswered questions up front. What, exactly, is the role of design in prototyping? Once a prototype is approved, which aspects of it should designers take literally and which are more flexible? As I listened to these questions, I realized that, despite having plenty of content about why we prototype and how the process works, we needed to answer them with material directly addressing the relationship between prototyping and design.
So, without further delay, here it is. Just a heads-up: this article is quite long and includes many visual examples that I hope will clarify the prototyping and design relationship. It doesn't need to be read in one sitting, but if you do want to tackle it all at once, you might want to top off your coffee and find a comfortable spot.
What You'll Learn
- What a prototype is,
- how prototypes communicate technical things without being overly technical,
- how pages are structured in prototypes, and...
- ...how designers should interpret them,
- and many other details that tend to be confusing to designers.
Ok, let's dig in...