How to Prototype an App Efficiently as a Non-Designer

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According to Dawn Ta, who is the UX Design Manager at ResMed: “It is not enough that we build products that function, that are understandable and usable, we also need to build products that bring joy and excitement, pleasure and fun, and, yes, beauty to people’s lives.”

This is completely true in today’s world where digital products like mobile applications are immensely popular among users. But the real challenge is to design an ideal app which is a difficult task.

To make this task a bit easier, you can take help of the different mobile app prototyping tools available in the market that use virtual gestures and help designers to create a wireframe of mobile apps efficiently. But how will you use these tools if you are a non-designer? Let’s explore the answer to this question in the article.

how to prototype an app

What are the Major Benefits of Prototyping Mobile Applications?

In addition to transforming your idea into interactive mockups, prototyping also helps in saving a lot of your hard earned money. How? Let’s understand with the help of the following benefits:

  1. Sharing your idea with other people like investors, designers, stakeholders, etc.
  2. Save money by presenting a “ready-to-code” wireframe/prototype to the remote software development team.
  3. Save money that will be invested on designers by sharing a “ready-to-design” mock-up with them.
  4. Put together your thoughts with complete clarity on what you want to create.
  5. Collect feedback from customers in the early stage of the app development process.

How to Prototype an App Efficiently as a Non-Designer?

In order to prototype an app, you don’t need to be a designer or a developer. But what you all need are the right tools. Let’s take a look at the different types of prototyping tools and why these are useful for your app development project.

Paper Prototyping

Here, there is no need for you to take help of any software but you can convert your ideas into tangible prototypes with the help of the following simple tools:

  1. Use free sketch templates that are available for mobile, web, and tablet platforms. For example, sketchappsources.com.
  2. You can do offline app prototyping with the help of stencils. For instance, uistencils.com.
  3. You can make your sketches interactive with the help of applications such as popapp.in. You just have to take photos of your sketches and link them with each other by setting actions between them so that to get an “app like feeling”.

Prototyping Software Solutions

There are various desktop apps available that you can use to develop a prototype of your application. Some of these popular apps are as follows:

  1. Keynote/PowerPoint

This software allows you to make a prototype with animations. Also, you can find extensive tutorials and guides on how to prototype an app with Keynote.

  1. Sketch

Specifically built for UI. This tool is similar to the PowerPoint or Keynote but consists of a wide variety of plugins and features, especially for UI/UX designers to help them in building a superb mobile app design.

  1. Justinmind

It is available as a free tool and can be used to build app prototypes for every platform. This tool makes it easier for users to share their designs with the other people associated with the app development project. Also, it is fully loaded with lots of free widgets.

  1. Adobe Experience Design CC

This tool is simple and easy to use. It is especially used for creating prototypes for web and mobile apps. All the tasks can be efficiently performed simply by dragging and dropping without any manual adjustment.

Cloud Software Solutions For Mobile App Prototyping

You can also prototype an app with the help of a software which is accessible via your browser. Some of such apps are mentioned below.

  1. 1. UXPin

This tool is ideal for developing a static design as well as for building animated mock-ups. You don’t need to have any prior coding knowledge to use this tool efficiently. It allows you to modify your designs in real-time and you can upload designs from Sketch or Photoshop. Also, it makes it easier for all the members associated with the project to comment directly on the designs. 

  1. InVision

This is the most advanced cloud software available in the market for web and mobile prototyping. It provides designers with the freedom to design, review, test, and share the results with other developers and team members and build highly interactive mock-ups for apps and websites.

  1. Proto.io

This tool is an ideal alternative for prototyping mobile apps. It allows you to create, animate and share high fidelity prototypes that are interactive and functions like real applications. Also, there is no need for you to have any coding experience to use this tool efficiently.

  1. Marvel

The users can use this tool as free for unlimited projects. It is very simple and clean tool which is perfect for prototyping mobile applications. This tool is ideal for beginners and non-designers.

  1. Balsamiq

This tool provides the users with an experience as if they are sketching on a whiteboard, but with the help of a software. It is meant for rapid prototyping and focus on core functionality and collecting feedback from the users.

  1. Fluid UI

This tool is an ideal match for designers as well as product owners. It is blessed with low and high fidelity component libraries. It allows you to share your designs with live video to the other people associated with your app development project. Also, this tool has live team collaboration as its greatest strength.

It becomes easier for the non-designers to build their first prototype by taking inspiration from the existing ones. You should try to replicate the elements you like and modify them in your own style to add other components to make it interactive.

Taking inspiration from others and customizing it in your own way can be the fastest way of learning for the people without any coding experience. You can download or use existing free or paid UI templates and build prototypes for web or mobile easily.

You can use icons from flaticon.com, fonts from fontsquirrel.com and google.com, mock-ups, UI, UI elements from ui8.net, free stock photos from pexels.com, and freebies for Sketch from sketchappsources.com.

In addition, you can also refer to other designers and their designs on various online forums and recreate your own design in a unique way. A few examples of such sites and communities are pinterest.com, pttrns.com or collectui.com, etc.

In this way, you can easily create your first app prototype without any coding experience as a non-designer. These tools can help you in efficiently building your first interactive mock-up of a mobile application. Once it’s done, you only have to hire a professional team, so that to transform your prototype into a fully functional mobile app.

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