Interactive Components: Bring your Prototypes to Life
To visualize something well and make sure the design gets properly coded without too much back-and-forths with a developer, you’ll need a nice working prototype. Prototypes with interactive components also help when showing your design to stakeholders or other team members—or for usability testing. For a prototype to be great, it needs to resemble a real-life product—so it should include as many opportunities for user interactions, as possible, which will give it that WOW effect—and ultimately speed up your design process, making it more efficient and effective.
What is a product prototype?
When you’re designing a UX/UI product, a prototype is basically an interactive design of a product, which gives you a glimpse at the design and features of the product, before the product is finalized. Prototypes are more complex and interactive than, say, initial sketches or wireframes. Instead, they explicitly test a user’s journey or experience with a site or product.
Prototypes are important because they help you avoid investing a lot of time and money into something that doesn’t work or doesn’t behave the way you want it to when it gets in the hands of a user. Product prototypes can help you find stumbling points or errors in your design, and they can help you resolve usability issues before you launch a product to the public. Finally, they also give you a glimpse into how people actually want to use your product, which can allow you to go in and tweak design, and even change up marketing and sales ideas based on how users actually interact with what you have to sell.
How (and why) interactive components improve product prototypes
Designing a product is often a collaborative process. You may collaborate with a designer who collaborates with a developer who collaborates with a marketing/branding team, etc. (and on and on). This process can get extremely clunky and complicated—and designing product prototypes with interactive components can help speed up and simplify the process. There are many types of prototypes, but the most effective for improving your process is a prototype with interactive components.
Interactive components in a prototype (and ones that actually pair with relevant devices) help users get a better sense of what it will be like to actually use what you’re creating. Rather than have to imagine what it will be like to click a button or fill out a form, they can actually feel what it will be like to have the experience. Making the prototype as close to the real product as possible helps you discover errors, flaws, or fixes you need your designer to work on. It also allows you to gauge what human behavior will be like when your product is in their hands—both how they use it, and how they want to use it. If you actually make a prototype usable, this will give you a better sense of how you can improve the product or actually have a better understanding of who you should market or sell your product to.
By creating a prototype that allows you to examine human behavior and ferret out potential flaws, you can minimize the number of times you and your designers have to go back and forth changing and improving the product and speed up how long it will take you to get your product out into the world.
How to incorporate interactive components in your product prototypes
To incorporate interactive components into your product prototypes, there are many steps you can take. Make sure that forms can actually be filled out; boxes can be checked; and links can be clicked on. Make as many components of your design actually workable as you can; this allows users to have the experience of trying to use the product, and it can give you some insight into how your product works and how people will (or want to) use it.
One helpful strategy is including pre-built components (called “forms” at UXPin) that you can easily drag and drop in our platform. (No need to design these from scratch!)
You can create interactions depending on the conditions like click, hover etc. on the ready components! Here are some examples:
Input and text area
How about a ready sign-up form with all the interactions already added?
→ Download a ready .uxp file to import into your UXPin account.
Want to create one by yourself? Here’s a tutorial.
How UXPin can help bring your prototypes to life with interactive components
Nailing your product’s design prototype quickly doesn’t just save you the headache of having to go back and forth with your designer over and over again. It can also mean lower costs in the production of the product, which leaves more in your budget for things like marketing, sales, and more. One of the best ways to nail the design the first time you try is by using nice, realistic prototypes—especially ones with interactive components. You don’t want people to imagine what it’s like to use the product you’re creating, especially when testing it. You want them to know what it feels like, how it will behave and react to their manipulation. For that reason, it’s key to incorporate interactive components in your prototype design.
If you want help incorporating interactive components into your prototypes, consider using UXPin. UXPin offers easy-to-use tools that will help ensure that your prototype looks—and feels—like your real-life product. UXPin allows you to design and manage your entire UX/UI project in one tool. We have a selection of great pre-prepared solutions (built-in forms) that will save you some time. Using these tools in UXPin can help you wow potential users, your own team, and potential investors—which means that not only will you be happy with your prototype quickly with minimal stress (so you can get the production or release process started), but also that investors will feel excited about investing in what you have to offer, since they’ll have a true understanding of the product or business they’re ready to back.
Try out UXPin today with a free 14-day trial to learn more about how you can benefit from all they have to offer.