Prototyping is a valuable strategy for businesses wishing to develop new products and glean customer feedback (prior to investing in and developing the product further) as well as collecting much needed research. Further, it can be used to create excitement about a potential new product.
Rapid prototyping is a group of techniques that can be used to quicky, and relatively inexpensively, fabricate a scale model of a physical part or assembly using three-dimensional Computer Aided Design (CAD). Then construction of the prototype is normally done through 3D printing or “additive layer manufacturing” technology.
The prototype can then be given to users at an early stage of the product development process so that businesses, or inventors, can get much needed research and feedback before the long, and expensive, road of product development is embarked upon.
A rapid prototyping strategy can create a virtuous loop where customer feedback can be received through a circular process of produce the prototype, test it, analyze the feedback, refine the prototype design and then produce the refined prototype for more testing. Essentially, this feedback enables the businesses to get it right prior to moving to production of the physical product.
However, rapid prototyping doesn’t necessarily need to be production of something physical. Interaction designers produce wireframes or user interfaces that are specifically geared to elicit feedback so that the expensive activity of software development embarks on the right foundations.
So, with rapid prototyping, some lucky users get to see what’s coming and can play an important part in helping businesses with the feasibility of the proposed product and the future direction of the design. This should make the future product more likely to be a success in the marketplace. What’s your thoughts…. join us on twitter @Trigcreative