Got an app idea but have little to no budget? I suggest you make a simple prototype, so you have something presentable for investors.
Simple Prototyping can be a clickable or non-clickable mockup version of your app that helps investors understand the main idea of your app with a hands on experience, without having to break the bank. Your goal here is to get people interested, get funding so you can complete the design and development phase, and launch!
There are three parts to Simple Prototyping; Wireframe Design (the layout, aka UX), simple UI Design (what the layout looks like with Text, Pictures and Icons) & simple Interaction Design (a rough idea of what happens when you click something).
For the Wireframe Design (UX), you’ll need to design a layout for every important page. For now, you can omit the less important features, and only focus on the important features (i.e., no need to design your settings page). If you hire a professional UX designer, your napkin mockups help to show the designer your basic ideas, however he/she will most likely throw out the napkins, entirely. They will have a better way of grouping features in sections that will help to simplify the entire layout. Cost for UX design can range from $500–6,000
For simple UI Design, the goal is to gain a better idea of what the app might look like with more detailed information, such as, icons, text, and images. For this simple option, the design can be Lo-Resolution (stick figures).
The level of resolution is up to you, you can use your paper napkin sketches, or you can begin the Hi-Resolution UI design process required for development by hiring a professional UI designer. The cost of a professional designer can range from $500 to $3,000 depending on the amount of pages and quality you are searching for. Just remember, items like calendars, graphs, or anything with large grids/tables will require more effort. Hi-Resolution UI design also incorporates your Branding, style, & color scheme. A Hi-Resolution UI may not be necessary for your simple prototype, but it will help get you closer to the development stage, since a Hi-Resolution design is required for development.
For simple Interaction Design, you’ll need to incorporate a prototyping tool that allows you to connect buttons to pages. It’s not completely necessary to make your prototype clickable, but it’s so easy nowadays, that the value a clickable prototype will provide for your presentation, far exceeds the amount of time it takes to set up.
There are several simple Rapid Prototyping tools out there on the interwebs that can help you get your paper napkin ideas into a presentable (but rough) prototype that anybody can view with a Web Browser. If you have a basic understanding of design, check out Napkin (free), UXPin ($12/mo). These tools provide some common UI elements that can help get your idea to screen quickly. If you already have a wireframe design created, check out InVision (free with 1 project), it’s the fastest way to create quick clickable prototypes, as long as you have wireframes ready and saved as an image file (jpg, pdf, png, sketch, psd). All of these tools allow you to share your app online or via email, allowing you to collaborate with others and present online to investors.
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