Product prototyping is the simplest yet most effective way to communicate the essential information about your new product idea, allowing you to demonstrate the use and value of your prospect, refine design decisions and overcome unforeseen challenges. Product prototyping is much more than just the aesthetics of your product, allowing you to explore many elements of your entire approach, design, and construction.
From testing to production, innovation to convincing investors, making use of solid product prototyping can simplify and refine much of the product development timeline – making for a result that matches your initial ideas while effectively refining, improving, and exploring the feasibility of materials and production.
In short, product prototyping is about a lot more than building a simple model, it is about more than the core aesthetics, it is about dynamically demonstrating your product, exploring and deepening the inherent possibilities within multiple dimensions.
What is product prototyping?
Fundamentally, product prototyping is creating an example of an idea to serve for future iterations and production. Prototyping can go through a range of iterations and versions, streamlining and refining the design, providing fertile ground for innovation, material and production ideas and planning, as well as product testing.
There are plenty of reasons to develop a range of product prototypes; these include verifying, exploring, demonstrating, or evaluating. Prototypes range from crude cardboard mock-ups to pre-production final prototypes, enabling a whole raft of product development benefits, from spotting glaring initial issues to convincing investors.
Essentially, prototyping is about de-risking and demonstrating critical components of the product. This could be human interaction or a subtle process required for success. It is being able to physically touch and engage with an idea, taking core elements from the conceptual to the physical, while leaving room for refinement and continued development.
There are a million elements that you might fail to notice looking at a Technical Drawing, 3D model, PCB or software package, elements that become immediately glaring upon playing with an initial prototype. This is the inherent benefit of prototyping.
Why is product prototyping so important
Although product prototyping can seem expensive and time-consuming, putting off the actual production of your product idea, can save you a lot of time, effort and money in the long run. There are endless issues, refinements, and tweaks that only effective prototyping can make apparent when it comes to producing a new product; tweaks and refinements that could save you a whole lot to realise way before production and other major stages.
Product prototyping is one of the most effective ways to iron out the kinks and keep creatively refining and improving your product, helping to avoid unforeseen issues, and guiding you towards creating the product that best matches your initial ideas – as well as expanding on functionality and other benefits.
It’s not just for demonstrating initial ideas or testing a product either. Product prototyping can yield plenty of benefits at every stage of the design process, from exploring initial ideas to refining and improving on said ideas, to manufacturing feasibility.
Key benefits of product prototyping
The benefits of effective product prototyping throughout your product development cycle are myriad, but here are some of the core benefits:
- Test and refine your product idea
- Analyse materials used, specifically looking at elements like durability, cost, aesthetics and functionality
- Figure out the cost of production of various product options
- Explore manufacturing options, examining technologies and feasibility
- Encourage innovation at every stage of product development
- Convince the investors, if a picture is worth one-thousand words, a prototype is probably worth at least one-thousand pictures.
The biggest risk of prototyping is the cost and time, which can slow the design process, but the risk of not prototyping and the potential cost of missed points on which to improve can be huge.
There are many things that you would miss on an image that would quickly become apparent on a physical prototype. In essence, product prototyping is the safety net that lets you know that your idea, and eventually your product, is proven and well-designed.
Product prototyping is as simple as seeing your product idea come to life, and as complex as testing the manufacturing viability of the different materials comprising the product.
It comes down to a more traditional approach to design, enabling a combination of digital modelling and prototyping and physical, allowing designers, investors, and testers to look at every iteration of your idea from every angle, from inception to production.
If you are looking to prototype your product, get in touch with us today to learn more about how we can support your project.