Dan Davies{ Front-end Developer }

Prototyping – It’s pretty important

4th April 2015

In my opinion of course…

I got really into prototyping a year or so ago. I was using software rather than making HTML versions but I saw the value early on as we tried to plan. I eventually moved on to working with HTML prototypes to demonstrate ideas and a bit later on after that, I felt that a prototype could end up becoming the code base for a website if done correctly ( I still do).

I then moved jobs where prototyping was to be at the forefront for my role.

And then I hit a massive stumbling block… Clients.

“I don’t like the grey boxes!” one said to me. “That’s not the copy we’ll use”, said another. “I just want to see the designed site” and so on.

I ended up hating prototypes. Just what was the point? Designers hated them as it stifled their creativity, clients hated them because they didn’t understand, bosses hated them because they were not doing what was promised.

Prototypes were shit. Bin them!

And then it struck me. I was trying to achieve too much. I was trying to do other people’s jobs also. We were not really working together. And that is the key message here. A prototype should be the result of a conversation. it’s not done to demonstrate a site design or finished website. It’s a quick way to show a task. They solve problems, they are a tool, just like Photoshop. Maybe, the client doesn’t really need to see them as much. The key is not getting too hung up on them.

I’ve made a few in the last couple of months to build on ideas that came about via conversations. To show people what can be achieved whether it be some nice animation in CSS to a parallax kind of effect on images.

Does everyone buy into it? Not everyone does. I fully understand why, whether it’s a designer, developer, boss or client. Budgets and time play a big part but that’s a different UX conversation for another day.

For me, it’s invaluable. That said, I work a certain way. It’s working with others where the challenge lies. As long as people keep talking, there shouldn’t be many issues. Also, maybe we should stop using grey?

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