As creative agencies shift toward solving problems for clients through experiences or tools, incorporating user feedback into the development process is key to making an impact. Jason Severs, Chief Design Officer at Droga5, spoke with the Ad Council about using prototyping to test out your products – as it can de-risk your product ideas by challenging any assumptions you may have made – before you build.
Here’s why your team should consider prototyping.
1. Prototyping is simple and low-cost
Paper, markers, playdough – prototyping is about creating a way for your users to play with your product and an invitation to suspend their disbelief. Prototypes don’t have to be a complex engineered product or polished site or tool. During his talk with our team, Jason pointed out that the latin root of prototype, proto typos, is literally translated as first impression. When you’re creating a prototype, Jason’s advice is to “move to tangible” quickly.
2. Prototyping can test your assumptions
The type of prototype you make will be informed by your strategy and the behavior you’re trying to inspire. From there you can create hypothesis questions to test, or create explicit tasks to determine how to guide your audience in interacting with your prototype. And testing assumptions doesn’t have to stop after you’ve launched a product, either! You can (and arguably should!) keep testing assumptions and optimizing post-launch. After all, cultural norms and behaviors change over time, so why shouldn’t your product?
3. Prototyping will validate or invalidate your product idea
Prototyping early in the development process will help you determine if your product is providing value to your audience or not. Jason shared an example where they tested out different bar ordering methods and learned through the process that they were trying to solve a problem that people didn’t have – their audience just wanted to order a beer as per usual and relax. At the Ad Council, we learn how to de-risk our ideas by testing our assumptions in our design thinking and innovation training, Splashbox. We actively put those learnings to practice by testing creative and product ideas through exploratory research, communication checks, and user testing.