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The need for rapid prototyping

Written by Mike Roberts. Posted in Gadgets

Once you have a good idea, you have to show it off and test it. This practice is by no way new to the world of manufacturing and many designers see working models as key elements of design. In the age of development, being able to build a prototype fast and present it the users is of paramount importance. Compared to sketches and computer generated designs, prototypes make a better impression in a meeting. The truth is that rapid prototyping remains the most important element of innovation.

Creating an idea

The first reason why prototyping is necessary is that testing a product will only make the manufacturing process faster. In today’s highly competitive market it is extremely important to move quickly from idea to design. Therefore, even before thinking about buying materials, setting up the production line and preparing for product release, any company requires some feedback on the product. Above all, prototyping means asking questions and making decisions. The model is the physical embodiment of the idea of the designer. Either for in-house use or the consume market, it is essential that the product reaches the end users as to be able to collect feedback.

Avoiding failures

The truth is that some failures are unavoidable and it is better to visualize the problematic areas instead of theorising the issues that can occur. The purpose of creating a working model is to gather information on how people are using the product and what new features are required. By creating a working model you can evaluate the problematic areas and avoid future failures which will cost you more than making some adjustments in the beginning. Critiquing a product means that you ensure there are no issues that stop the product from performing as it should.

Don’t confuse the prototype with the product

Effective prototyping allows the designer to keep concepts alive. In other words, instead of relying on the feeling that the approach will meet success, the designer is able to test several ideas before actually picking a direction. When this happens, the decision will be based on hard evidence and not on speculation. Even though the model is not the basis for the finished product and it can be easily be discarded, it provides essential information so that you will be able to provide the customer with what he needs. In the end, creating a model as soon as possible is a key element to the success of any product.