The Prototype Phase

Occasionally, product design companies pop up in television shows and films.  They usually serve as a means of showing a character striking it rich by designing a wild product that no one has ever thought of.  In more than one instance, the character suffers humiliation and defeat when the fully launched product experiences a massive…

Occasionally, product design companies pop up in television shows and films.  They usually serve as a means of showing a character striking it rich by designing a wild product that no one has ever thought of.  In more than one instance, the character suffers humiliation and defeat when the fully launched product experiences a massive flaw upon its widespread release.  For instance, in a famous episode of The Simpsons, Homer bankrupts a company when he releases a completely ridiculous car to the public.  Smart companies don’t throw all their money into a final design without testing it first, and that’s what the prototyping phase is for.

The Benefits of Testing

An effective prototype will create a three-dimensional model that allows investors, designers, and managers to see the development in a very visual way.  No matter how effective the two-dimensional representation may be, there’s nothing that’s quite the same as actually being able to hold a design in your hands.  This allows designers to test the product and determine if there are any flaws in the design well before any kind of public implementation takes place.  That way, any costs of redesign are kept to a minimum.

Spend Now to Save Later

Some shortsighted companies will attempt to rush a new design and skip the prototyping phase.  This can be a devastating shortcut.  Such a tactic can certainly speed the process along, but the risks inherent in such a gamble should be readily apparent.  Malfunctioning or even dangerous components might be completely overlooked.  Design elements that look brilliant on paper may not work all that well in real life.  Even small changes could have an incredible impact on the way the product is utilized by the consumer.  The important thing is to test the product early so that these kinds of problems can be detected and dealt with.

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