Web designing is both an art and a science.
There is a lot of aesthetics involved in creating a user experience that motivates people to browse a website, engage with its content, feel satisfied and then come back again. The look and feel of the website is complemented by the technology that runs behind it and controls its overall flow and functionalities.
Calgary web design companies are known to build websites that are robust, scalable and engaging. One of the ways in which they accomplish this is by using prototyping.
What is a Prototype?
Before delving deeper into the topic, let us understand what is a prototype?
In the context of web designing, a prototype is basically a high-fidelity visual version of a website that closely resembles its final design in terms of details and functionality. In common parlance it is also referred to as a mock up as it provides a link between the screens and provides a demo of how the website would function before it is built.
Prototyping in web designing
Calgary web design companies now routinely build prototypes in almost every web design project. Their development methodology has shifted from the ‘waterfall’ model to an ‘agile’ model which means that they now work more iteratively with their clients than before.
Their clients also prefer this approach as it allows them to see the big picture of their website beforehand. With the help of prototypes, they are able to see their desired functionalities in the website coming to life with interactive gestures and animations.
A well-done prototype provides a rich user experience and conveys the look & feel of how the proposed site will function. It allows users to interact with the site, check out its ebb and flow and provide feedback. If the user experience is positive, then the prototype has done its work, but in case the feedback is negative, then it means that changes need to be done.
Getting feedback from users
In order to obtain insights and perspectives from users, Calgary web design companies send a web link to their clients. This link contains the prototype. Their clients need to simply click the link and then the prototype easily installs itself.
They are then able to interact with the site and provide critical feedback, ideas and suggestions, all of which get easily and quickly incorporated into the prototype.
The modified prototype is again presented to their clients and feedback taken. At this point, all aspects of the design, flow and functionality are more or less frozen. In the next steps, the prototype is taken as the basis to build the final website and roll it into production.
The website then becomes public and users are able to visit it and interact with it. If it is an e-Commerce website, then shoppers are able to carry out transactions on it.
Advantages of a prototype
- A prototype works well for both parties – the business owner as well as the web design company.
- The biggest advantage of prototyping is that it simulates the real and future website. It motivates clients to finance the website before making provision for staff who would be required to supervise and implement.
- Clients are able to test the correctness of the design before it comes into production.
- A prototype eliminates misunderstandings and miscommunications during the process of design & development. Errors are detected early and this leads to reduced time and costs.
- Projects done with a prototype are mostly within budget.
- A prototype facilitates collaboration within internal team members
- User feedback is incorporated into the website.
- Rigorous testing of the website can be done.
Prototyping does not cost a lot of money. In fact it takes just a few dollars to build a small prototype. Individuals and small business owners who want to either build a brand new website, or upgrade their existing website and make it more user-friendly, feature rich and interactive, are advised to take the route of prototyping before building a big budget website.