Pitch Your App Idea with Fully Functioning Prototype

Do you want to get your app idea in front of Investors? Here are some tips for making a fully functioning Prototype.

Animation example taken from GC, an app designed by William Harvey Designs

A fully functioning Prototype is as close to a working version as we can get without development. A complex prototype helps to better understand the user flow without the need for reiteration of costly development. This results in discovering flaws in the design, gaining valuable user-feedback from your test market, and ultimately allowing for a stronger pitch to your investors, stakeholders, and potential customers.

There are three parts to Complex Prototyping; Wireframe Design (the layout, aka UX), complete UI Design (what the layout looks like with Text, Pictures, Icons, Color and Branding) & Complex Interaction Design (what exactly happens when you click something).

For Wireframe Design, spend some time on research, taking time to understand the user-base, and the competition. This helps to keep you from re-designing the UI over and over again, saving time for future tasks. Full Wireframe (UX) design can range from $2,000–$10,000.

Complete Hi-Resolution UI Design is required for development, so you may as well begin this process for the prototyping stage. Finalize the branding and style of the app. This will allow your app to begin to stand out on its own. With complete UI design, this includes fully exporting all of the design assets (design specification, icons, images, & art elements) required for development and prototyping. Complete UI design can range from $1,000 to $10,000.

For complex Interaction Design, we now begin to enter the world of Animation. Part of complex prototyping is incorporating animations into the user interaction. “What happens after the user logs in? Do we shoot fireworks out of the phone?”, “How does one screen enter another screen?”, “How do elements move when a button is pressed?”, “How do we move the user along the intended path?”, are all questions that need to be answered in complex prototyping (ok maybe not the fireworks part :).

The next addition to complex Prototyping is creating a working clickable prototype that will help us in a few areas; It will help the developer understand the quality and intended animations you are aiming to achieve. It will help us gather feedback from a test market. It will help for a more engaging presentation for your investors and marketing materials, such as animated mockup videos of the app in action.

These prototypes can be viewed on all Mobile devices, tablets and Watches. The great advantage to this is the capability to use the on board hardware functionality such as Accelerometer, Camera, GPS Location, and touch screen interaction. Prototypes can also be viewed on Web (with less hardware functionality), but this makes it easy to share with stakeholders/investors that don’t have a device to test with.

Since Interaction Design and Prototyping requires a wide skill set, the cost can range anywhere from $2,000 for a simple prototype with minimal animations, to $xx,000 for the most animated of designs. Keep in mind that after obtaining user feedback, any additional iterations to the existing design will endure additional cost.

Finally, as more modern apps begin to adopt a highly animated user experience, I should warn you that the more animations you have planned in your design, the more advanced development efforts will be required, leading to additional development costs. So for those on a tight budget, you may need to postpone your welcome-screen cartoon sequence until version 1.1.

For more App Launch Strategies see my main blog, Five Options for getting from App Idea to MVP.

If you have found any of this info helpful, please feel free to comment and let me know how I have helped or how I can improve. Let me know how your app progress is going. Or if you’d like to brainstorm about your app idea, shoot me an email. And lastly, all of the options I provide above are available through my design services at williamharveydesigns.com

William is a product designer, specializing in audio and entertainment application design.