Personally at times I have been frustrated, as have my students, from getting their ‘blue sky’ ideas into something more tangible, such as a working prototype. Over the last few years it has felt quite impossible at times that if you don’t have any specific technical/design skills it’s always difficult to make things happen. However, now it may be a lot easier than you think. Below I have outlined some digital tools that used on their own or as a combination will allow you and your students to create working prototypes, making something that in reality they can use to show a potential customer or investor what the concept is and how it works. This enables students to take their vision to the next level.
FluidUI – Based upon the drag and drop interface, there are a whole host of built in widgets and functional components which you can add into your design. This makes it incredibly easy to share working mockups of your ideas and therefore give an idea of how your product will work and feel. You can also incorporate your own elements into the product.
A screen shot of the FluiUI user interface.
AppCooker – Perhaps slightly more user friendly than FluidUI, AppCooker enables you to prototype concepts on your iPad. Here you can import images from Dropbox and other file sharing/cloud services. These become ‘clickable’ in just a few taps and you can then export them for others to test. One of my favourite elements to AppCooker are the modules. These allow you to make assumptions and test revenue around the app, this is not only helpful, but also a great cross-curricular enterprising feature.
A screen shot of the AppCooker user interface.
Finally, and by no means least is Proto.Io. Similar to AppCooker, Proto.Io also allows you to animate parts of the user interface, which makes for a more aesthetically pleasing prototype, it’s also incredibly fast as well. With this, you also have the option of getting feedback from product testers/guinea pigs. These product testers are able to annotate your designs to help you develop and refine them. This particular app is worthwhile if you’re looking at the possibility of something that functions on multiple devices, such as cameras, consoles, tablets etc….. There are some really good demos on the Proto.Io website.
A screen shot of the Proto.Io user interface.
I hope this has been useful, of course, there are many more apps out there with far greater capabilities and a far higher price tag! Happy prototyping everyone!