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What is Software Prototyping and why is it needed?

Creating new software could change your business. Business-changing software is everywhere and it’s very likely you use some in your business already. 

But when it comes to creating software – which you should when the time is right – you need to approach it from the ground up. And that’s not that simple for non-software people. 

Building software always involves software developers (us) and business or company owners pushing for the next level (you). This in itself is the big challenge with any software development. 

The coming together of two companies who work in very different spaces and for very different reasons needs to be done with sensible merging and engaging so that the project is completed effectively. Thankfully, there are many brilliant ways to do this. 

When building the software though, there needs to be a platform, a solution, a common ground where both company and software developers can agree on the plan going forward and with how the software will look and feel. 

This is where software prototyping comes in….

What is a software prototype?

A software prototype is an early, semi-working version of your software with visuals and diagrams to show how the software will look, feel, and function. It’s an early blueprint or mock-up if you like. The aim is simply to give a working visual example of the project before heading into development. 

Making it visual

Successful software isn’t all about the visuals, but it certainly helps to see them! It really helps when all parts of the team can work to the same vision. Software is invisible to you (the non-software part of the team) until of course you can see it in action and use it. 

So, although it’s not all about the visuals - as the functions and the problem the software solves is the real deal here - it really helps to be able to see the creation before putting it into final development. Software prototypes help to do that. 

It can be easy to assume everyone can image how the final product will work and what it will look like, but that’s not always the case.

Here’s a thought…

During nearly all software development there will be changes due to thoughts and ideas that come into play because of conversation and visuals and meetings and feedback. The process will bring up new challenges and then new ideas and this is why a software prototype is so important. 

It’s far easier to change it direction or add something in during the early stages and this is often when those conversations happen. You can’t necessarily avoid changes happening later on in development, but using a good prototype process in the early stages certainly helps to minimise the number of changes.

Look for the gaps in functionality 

Even with our years of experience, we can’t foresee all the ways your software will work… and fail. We need to go through the journey of it, see how it will work, ask questions of it, and see many sides of the story. We need to hear from you, the owner of the software, to confirm that it really does what you need it to do. 

Even though we ask all the right questions, there may be something potentially missed in those early days of conversations. Meetings and brainstorms aside, we all need to see something that represents the software and how it will work in the real world. A software prototype gives a really close experience of that. 

Create a functioning model

The software prototype gives us a far better base to build a functioning model for your software that we can finalise and tweak where needed. Without those early changes, adjustments and conversations working on the diagrams and visuals, we’d need to spend a lot more time at the later stages, changing the code of the software to make small changes. 

It can then become very ‘back and forth’ and take time (and money) to do. A software prototype is far simpler to change and thus faster and more cost-effective. 

Functional spec document

Working alongside the prototype will be the specifications document. This will lay out all the minute details of the project and what it is exactly that the software needs to do. It will create the blueprint for the development and together with the prototype gives us the best possible route to success. 

The perfect partnership

The prototype, the documents, and the team are then the perfect marriage of ideas, solutions, and build that will give the best result and build something that will become a true asset to your business. 

For us, these tools ensure that the quality and end result are what you want and need. You will see the plan and feel confident that the end product will be precisely what you envisioned, and we’ll both work together to achieve it. 

A software prototype is just another of the essential processes for building business-changing software. 

Adding software into your business really does change it for the better and allows you to compete in this fast-paced world. 

Need to make some changes and advancements in your business? Let’s have a chat. 

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