In order to level up your design chops, you need to focus on the interaction design. And you can achieve this through prototyping.
It’s all too common: you’ve spent countless hours ideating and designing something theoretical that ends up completely missing the mark in production. The truth is that it’s easy to get bogged down over the perfect snapshot of a product. But in order to level up your design chops, you need to focus on the interaction design. And you can achieve this through prototyping.
Prototyping is an iterative process that allows you to evaluate and test your designs. Over the past few years, I’ve created prototypes for every occasion and in every level of detail. Looking back on my process, this is what I’ve found:
- Prototypes provide me with incredibly rich feedback
- They help me articulate my ideas and concepts to stakeholders
- They save my business money and time
- They make me a better and more thoughtful UX designer and storyteller
In this article, I’m going to walk you through how to choose the right prototyping tool, introduce tips and tricks to make your prototypes feel real, as well as provide you with considerations to make before prototyping, so you can truly take your design to the next level.
Finding the right tools: How to evaluate what’s out there
When it comes to comparing prototyping tools, there’s often a paradox of choice: many tools offer comparable features and pricing, which leads to more confusion. My personal preference is Flinto, which I use for the majority of my prototypes because of the speed and detail within the program. But it’s important to stay flexible: in certain cases, I’ll jump into a code editor and whip up some HTML/CSS/JS to do the job.
Ultimately, you want to select the tool that’s going to make your job easiest and most efficient to accomplish. Keep in mind that this tool can change depending on the project, the team, and your needs. Take the following things into consideration when evaluating which tool is best for you:
Detail and customization
Choose a tool that supports building custom transitions and multiple gestures so you have the option to be as granular as the project calls for.
Determine the learning curve
The last thing you want is to have to learn a completely new tool on top of actually doing the design. For that reason, I would recommend that you choose a tool with a gentle learning curve. You want whichever tool you pick to enable your process and allow you to focus on your time and ideas, not on learning the software itself.
Using the same tools as your colleagues is highly recommended. Just as you may share Sketch or Illustrator design files, you can pass along your prototypes, repurpose assets, and dive deeper into how someone built out specific interactions.
While there are other factors to consider (i.e. ease of sharing and code output), the above are a great jump-off point as you decide which prototyping tool to proceed with. Remember: it’s not about the tool, but rather what the tool enables you to create.