Prototype vs. Designer

Recently, the need for prototypes has been actively discussed at the hubr, I will try to make my fly in the ointment in this matter.

Some shout - the prototype of evil, others, armed - be silent. Let's do smarter, move away from disputes and figure out why these prototypes are needed at all?

Not so long ago, the whole process of creating a site was prosaic and simple. The customer was struck by a wonderful idea, and he turned headlong to the designer, they say draw me such a dream. The designer, impressed by the scale of the idea, painted beautiful pictures and the customer briskly accepted the work. After that, the programmer “turned pictures into code” and so the site was born.

However, time passed and the golden mountains were still not painted in the pockets of the customer. A lot of money was spent on website promotion, but there were no and no sales. At this moment, our businessman usually had the thought that something was wrong with the site.

At this time, people appeared on the other side of the problem, proudly fluttering from the stands of specialized conferences on the importance of including user needs in the development process. So a new profession was born - an interaction designer (in fact, there are a lot of names, I like that).

These brave pioneers brought one simple truth to the world day after day - if we are creating a site for people, then why not ask these very people what they really need?

After a while, the light rustle turned into a real noise, the pioneers founded well-known companies and now every self-respecting businessman considers it necessary to get a prototype of his idea.

What the hell is a prototype?

Of course, many of you know what a prototype is, imagine what it looks like and even think you know how to make it. God be with you, maybe it is.

For those who so far do not suspect anything, I will answer with words from Wikipedia:

A prototype is a working model, a prototype of a device or part in design, construction, modeling.

In the context of interface design, this is a fully functional html-model of a site that works through a browser and clearly illustrates the entire principle of interaction for different use cases.

Stop! Use cases?

And here we come to the most interesting part of our story. It turns out that the prototype not only illustrates the appearance of the pages, it also responds to scenarios somehow.

It so happened that day after day we turn to various sites in search of a solution to a particular problem. Do we need to find a definition of the word, buy a vacuum cleaner or movie tickets - each time we carry out a certain behavior pattern and have expectations. And if the navigation pattern and the content of the site corresponds to our habits - this leads us to achieve what we have desired, and business owners to conversion.

One of the important tasks of the interaction designer is just to identify such patterns and expectations among the intended or existing audience of the project.

There can be a lot of them, then they are grouped according to similar characteristics and so a character is born, which is an archetype of a certain group. The theme of the characters is worthy of a separate publication, so I’ll only say that for one project there can be one character or several.

The task of the interaction designer is to make a prototype that meets the needs of all the characters, and especially the key one.

But what about business, baby?

Naturally, the work of the designer is not limited to the needs of some characters, there are business needs that need to be understood correctly. It so happened that a wise and strong offline is completely powerless in the world of the web.

I often saw successful "pot-bellied uncles" in silk suits bearing nonsense on the topic of the new site. For this reason, it is also worth being careful with ready-made TK.

A self-respecting designer will always conduct several interviews with business representatives, trying to get to the bottom of the matter, and then assign a few more interviews with “working hands”, the very people who daily satisfy our needs — sellers, consultants, managers, etc.

Having on hand a complete picture of what business needs and what users need, our hard worker will finally be able to sit down and conjure the very prototype about which there are so many holivars.

Of course, I omitted part of the design process, not the essence is important.

What will be next?

Now that the prototype is ready and meets all the tasks assigned to it, it's time to write a detailed specification and transfer this matter to the hands of proud design and programmers.

And then a good designer will show himself well done and check the work of the first and second, and if necessary, insist on the right decision.

The whole problem is that good designers still need to be found. More and more people having read one or two books begin to imagine themselves to be great masters of work and take up work. From this all cries and groans come out. When you get the result of the work of such a “designer”, you involuntarily think about why he gave birth to the light at all and spit on all these prototypes.

Should a designer make prototypes?

No, for the prototype is the ultimate visual representation - the tip of a huge iceberg called interaction design.

Should a designer follow prototypes?

Yes, because the prototype is the result of a large and painstaking work, often of a whole team of people who are professionally engaged in their business day after day.

The last phrase is the most important - go about your business, raising your own skill to a new level every day.

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