Where we make a difference
Prototyping techniques help us understand, refine and communicate conceptual and actual designs so that what is ultimately created more accurately meets the needs and expectations of everyone involved.
We work with your business analysts and stakeholders to create prototypes which help identify gaps in knowledge, process flaws and help you to understand the areas for improvement. All of this is done before anyone begins building actual software.
Once the development process begins, we can continue to use prototyping techniques to fine-tune a design and communicate that design to users and stakeholders.
We have experience of many prototyping tools and techniques and can co-locate with your people to bring you the most efficient and effective prototyping service possible.
We are experienced in creating models of conceptual systems so that they can be evaluated, alternatives explored and user feedback gathered at an early stage.
There are a number of different approaches to creating and working with prototypes, ranging from simplistic paper prototypes or wireframes, to fully featured, bespoke slices of larger systems.
Determining the functionality of a system is a process that needs careful thought; requirements prototyping is a technique which allows the actual requirements of a system to be firmed up iteratively using models and mockups.
It's more than just building prototypes, though - requirements prototyping can apply at all stages of a software development project.
This is about creating models and simulations of software that has either still to be built or completed. Working this way helps create better software which is more usable, with a lower risk of failure than would be possible using a conventional software development process.
Types of Software Prototype we use
There are many different approaches to prototyping, from the very simple 'sketches-on-a-post-it' to rich, fully interactive software simulations. Broadly speaking, however, we can classify these broadly into two distinct categories:
These are non-interactive mock-ups of systems which can be thought of as being a bit like sketches: they suggest a basic shape for a design but don't contain a lot of specific detail. This type of prototype is useful because they can be created quickly without too much technical expertise. These are often known as 'wireframes' or 'paper prototypes' and though quick to create they are hugely useful on any software development.
These are normally more detailed than static prototypes, though they do require an increased investment in time to create. They aim to build a model of a system which can actually be 'test driven' by users or stakeholders. This allows actual paths through that system to be modelled and evaluated. In addition, interactive prototypes normally aim to represent a closer approximation to an actual software system, combining visual aspects with a degree of interactive functionality. This might mean navigation, or the use of real web controls, or even mock data processing. As a platform for demonstrating a system, these are the richest, most useful types of prototype, although the slowest to create.
One of the benefits of our approach to design is that we can combine our in-depth understanding of a conceptual design with a solid understanding of how users think. With this in mind, we are able to create interactive training simulations based on the final prototypes from the design phase.
The benefits of using an interactive training simulation are plain to see; users can be trained up in key areas ahead of the actual launch of a new system, and because a simulation is interactive, it can give users the opportunity to explore at their own pace, or follow guided exercises.
Because we work closely with each customer, we are able tailor each training programme to provide as much support as is required by users, complete with supporting documentation. We can even offer short training courses to help get users up-to-speed ahead of launch.