The 5 Minute Guide To Cheap Startup Prototype

The 5 Minute Guide To Cheap Startup Prototype

Imagine that you have just completed the idea discussion of your product and you’re planning a prototype.

You’ve started discussing it with a few friends, excited about innovation for your customers, have a rough idea around your thoughts, and are thinking about the meeting with investors to showcase your vision At this point, your co-founder turns to you and says: “What are we going to do with the $3000 we have stashed away for prototype?” The goal of this article is to provide you with everything you need to know about cheap startup prototype, as quickly as possible. Read on and you can start showcasing your vision to the potential investor and spend that design budget wisely.

The first step is to know that there are two key strategies toward start-up prototype application success.

Strategy # 1 – Analyzing the requirement of your customer-base and addressing that gap

Strategy # 2 – Innovating to the maximum, to go above and beyond customer expectations

Strategy # 1 – Analyzing the requirement of your customer-base and addressing that gap

Building a product that customers love is most often the crucial defining factor between success and failure. Understand the requirement of the customer should form the basis of the prototype structure. The analysis and feasibility of your prototype are directly related to the customers’ requirement for it.


The first order of business is to gauge the need among a certain consumer base, and if your prototype is addressing that gap. For example, the creators of ‘Maps’ (the online mobile application that accurately guides you from one destination to another) through their application, addressed the need in the market for a predictive tool to assess travel duration and routes between destinations. The prototype must be created, bearing in mind consistent feedback from consumers, experts, etc. This may require multiple versions that are updated based on regular feedback. However, there are some overarching pointers, which need to be factored right from the outset.


  1. Balancing Involvement:   During the prototype development process, striking the right balance between personal involvement and professional expertise is significantly crucial. The idea is yours and the best way to ensure that it turns out physically as it was planned in your head, is through consistent involvement through the development phase. Having said that, professional experts need to be pulled in to assist with the development process and skills required toward the process. High ranked development companies can increase success chances while mitigating risks that may slip from the eyes of a beginner.


2. Assessing Productivity:  An important factor, which must be calculated from the stage of the inception of the idea of the prototype, is the productivity that the application will offer the consumer. It must be consistently assessed at every level of development and hold the key as to whether the customer will buy the product or not.


3. Creating Convenience: No matter how robust of the product, if it is complex and inconvenient to your customer base, it is of little or no value. The prototype must be created with the convenience factor, wherein a customer must see the value to the product, along with a considerable ease of use.


4. Increasing Flexibility:  Ensure that your prototype is flexible enough to mold to the requirements and limitations of different customers, based on demographics, the purpose of use, professional affiliation, etc. The flexibility of the product, in that it provides different choices for use, will allow for increased customer engagement.


5. Reducing Costs: When an idea is being put to physical creation, there must be an analysis of how this solution will reduce the cost of the customer, either directly or indirectly. For example, a successful communication platform will offer cheaper and easier communication options. This type of application will address the convenience and cost aspect, making it a viable option for the customer.

6. Driving Growth: When looking at the customer’s requirements, it is important to gauge your product through its ability to increase customer profitability, whether professionally or personally. The higher the susceptibility of the prototype to increase growth through deployment, the better chance at success.


7. Maintaining Cost-Efficiency:  A description of your idea may cost you nothing, but putting it into a physical form comes with a cost. Through the development process, keeping a keen eye on the costs involved in development, along with the cost of procurement for the consumer will allow for a realistic analysis on what the customer will pay towards the final product.


8. Quantify Challenges: A thoughtful consideration of the challenges facing your customer base will be the fastest tool toward creating a prototype that will address the gap. Look carefully at the challenges within the relevant market and then undertake physical implementation of your prototype with the intention of overcoming those challenges.


9. Adapt to Changes: A rigid entrepreneur is one who is doomed to failure. As you go along on the process of gauging customer requirements and creating the prototype, be prepared to modify and tweak your original idea and plan to a more evolved version of the same.



Strategy # 2 – Innovating to the maximum, to go above and beyond customer expectations

A product that is considered to be above market expectations and one that exceeds customer expectations starts with a prototype that created using best practices and agile methodology. The below list of approaches are intended to aid toward the building of a prototype that will stand above its competitors:


Approach 1 – Embedding Interactivity

A prototype that is a reflection of the product from only a design point of view, no matter how high in quality, is lacking the essential feature of usability. Even though the design may be attractive and of excellent quality, interactivity is a core element that must be incorporated into the prototype to determine the extent of usability for the consumer.


Approach 2 – Hiring a Full-time Remote Manager

This is another essential approach that will allow for constant monitoring of quality controls and efficient functionality to be created through the prototype from start to finish. It further maintains a consistent quality across the prototype and allows for timely execution and delivery.


Approach 3 – Building HTML Prototypes

This version of prototype embraces the concept of testing functionality, visual details and the navigation capabilities that will be present in the final product. These prototypes are as accurate a reflection as there can be of the final product, without the expense of writing codes. Adopting this approach will provide as close a picture as there can be of the final product.


Approach 4 – Brainstorming to Mitigate Challenges

All entities involved in the creation of a prototype need to engage in periodic brainstorming strategies to address challenges that may be encountered along the way and come up with innovative solutions that go above and beyond the initial expectation.


Approach 5 – Indulge in Continuous Testing

Adopting an approach that continually undertakes testing involves putting it in front of consumers to provide valuable feedback. This method identifies challenges, addresses the gap between requirements and solutions and offers remedies in a cost-efficient manner. It further confirms the predictions that were initially made of the requirements of customers and creates a validation toward addressing those requirements.


Approach 6 – Experiment with Modifications

Unlike traditional methodology, with advanced technology in digital projects, such as pixels, allow for constant experimentation and innovation. This methodology increases the quality of a prototype substantially. Building and testing ideas, making modifications based on feedback, consistently looking for ways to improvise, etc. are all building blocks toward a successful prototype.


Approach 7 – Establishing a Holistic Team

Needless to mention, a dynamic team lies at the crux of a strong prototype. A user interface designer will bring in visual expertize to the prototype. User experience designers, on the other hand, should be brought in to inculcate the consumer experience. Content specialists may be deployed to create striking and quality content from the information standpoint. Researchers that bring in the feedback and understanding of consumer requirements are significant contributors to the team. Lastly, developers need to be looped in to provide feasibility and quality control of features that should or should not be included.

Final Thoughts:

A clear roadmap that leads you from conception to creation is the fundamental step towards final productivity. Here, we detail the steps that will take you from ideation to final creation in a seamless manner that is guaranteed to leave you with a prototype that is fully functional and robust.


Step 1: Laying Out Your Concept

To transform your vision into reality, you have to first put it down from your mind onto paper. Whether it is through conceptual drawing or a rough layout of the idea, the starting point is a physical demonstration of the details of your idea. This is also the point where conflicting ideas will either see the light of day or not, based on an analysis of market requirements. As your ideas are put down on paper, you will get a clear indication of the features that will bring value to your product and those that seem redundant.


Step 2: Documenting the Requirements and Outcomes

The initial drawings will allow you to then create an affiliated document that lists the pattern, flow, requirements, and purpose of the product. You can include details and instructions in this document that will work as a guide to building the prototype. This draft may include thoughts and comments that would save a lot of rework during the development process, and allow your ideas to reflect through every feature of the final product.


Step 3: Creating a Digital Sketch

Once you have put your vision down on paper, the next order of business is to create a digital image of what your product will appear to be. There are several design tools that are available for this step of execution, with options of 2D or 3D rendering. This is the point where your idea will seem like its coming to life and value renditions will become more predictable. For assistance in this step, there are several professional design companies that offer this service.


Step 4: Building Blueprints

With the sketch in place, it is time to create blueprints. This will be cleaner and more precise versions that centre on the details of the prototype. Enhancements and optimizations can be made during this stage through analysis of the initial sketch.


Step 5: Building the Prototype

Now, you are at the point where you’re ready to build a physical prototype. Through a combination of personal involvement and professional aid, this stage is where flaws become evident and advantages of the product start to appear. The process may involve modifying and updating the prototype based on the advantages and disadvantages that come to light. At the outset, use cheaper materials for building and the material quality can be consistently increased through every updated version. Your final version of the prototype must be a close rendition of what the product will look like, upon completion.