How to Show Management a Better Way Through Prototyping

Prototyping is an incredibly powerful design tool, but they have so much more potential than we think, especially when we prototype without constraints.

The post How to Show Management a Better Way Through Prototyping appeared first on Boagworld – User Experience Advice.


I produce prototypes for clients all the time. I consider them an invaluable tool. But, I suspect I think them valuable for slightly different reasons to most.

We all know prototypes are a fantastic way of rapidly iterating to a better user interface. They allow us to test our approach with users early when we can still quickly adapt the design decisions we are making.

A prototype is a fantastic tool for iterating to a better user interface, but it has other benefits too.

But I use prototypes for another purpose too. I use prototypes to sell a vision of what the future could be to senior management.

How to Inspire Through Prototyping?

In my experience, most people struggle to imagine what a better user experience looks like. Even if they can see shortcomings in the existing offering, they struggle to justify the cost of improving things, in part because they cannot see how much better things could be.

Prototyping provides a tangible way of painting a compelling picture of what a future user experience might be, something that has the potential to excite colleagues and clients. Something that will help get buy-in for more significant investment.

But that only works if we prototype in the right way. Too often our prototypes fail to live up to their potential just because we censor ourselves.

Are Your Prototypes Failing to Inspire?

The problem is that a prototype can easily get bogged down in constraints. We fail to build an example of the best possible user experience because we are worried about issues such as integrating with legacy technologies or getting some of our decisions past colleagues and management.

Don’t get me wrong, these things are essential, but I would argue that the prototyping stage is not always the best time to address them. That is because it is surprising how often these perceived barriers melt away in the face of a prototype that wows everybody across the company. That is especially true when backed with evidence gathered from testing with real users.

Often the objections we expect to hear to our decisions never materialise when people can see just how good the experience could be. Equally, when people see an inspiring prototype that they cannot have because of the legacy technology, they start to question why and begin to demand change.

How to Create a Prototype That Wows!

Of course, for a prototype to work as a useful sales tool it needs to impress. That means that it would typically be a higher fidelity prototype than we might usually be inclined to create.

My prototypes are typically fairly high fidelity so that they excite stakeholders about the possibilities.

You will also need to be able to demonstrate that users respond positively to the prototype and find it a considerable improvement over what currently exists.

In fact, it is essential that any prototype you create has a supporting case alongside it. An argument that explains what the prototype is trying to achieve and includes evidence that it is a significant step forward from existing offerings.

I often deliver the supporting case is a video presentation that people are required to watch before having access to the prototype itself. That gives me an opportunity to set expectations, excite people about the potential and show video of users getting excited about the prototype.

Use Prototyping to Overcome Resistance

So next time you find yourself facing resistance to creating a better user experience, consider building a high fidelity prototype. Whether that resistance is technical legacy, underinvestment or organisational apathy, you will be amazed at how a compelling prototype can kickstart any digital project.

The post How to Show Management a Better Way Through Prototyping appeared first on Boagworld – User Experience Advice.

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