Designing web application prototypes seems like a simple idea. Grab some markers and a sheet of paper and you’re designing a new application in seconds. The problem is it’s never that simple. The first time you draw your ideas on paper is also the first time you really get to see how it’ll all work together. That’s when the hard work starts. “How do we make this easier or more user-friendly?” sounds like a question that should be easy to answer but in some cases it can take weeks of tweaking to get that one thing right. We don’t think perfection is really the goal but making it work correctly is the goal.
I came across this great article on product prototyping on the 99% website. It does a great job explaining how things that appear simple can sometimes obscure the hard road to getting it there:
When we use a break-through industrial design product – the iPod, for example – we don’t necessarily spend much time thinking about the extensive development process that went into achieving such a simple solution. But the long journey from visionary idea to intuitive product is a trajectory worth contemplating. In the case of Herman Miller’s new Setu chair, designed by Berlin outfit Studio 7.5, the numbers are telling: 18 months of self-financing, 5+ years of development, and 40 fully functional prototypes. Read entire article.