Ted Hickman

Tips for Efficient and Effective Prototyping

One of the most exciting parts of building a product is the prototyping phase. It’s the part where you get to see your idea come to life in a three-dimensional way, enabling you to visualize if and what changes need to be made. During testing, prototyping is especially useful because the users, who have no prior knowledge of your product or idea, are given the ability to see how your product will function when manufacturing is completed.

As one of the most valuable stages of design, prototyping can also take a lot of time away from the rest of the process. It’s important to save time and find mistakes sooner so you can meet your goals. Prototypes are built for products in various industries, including automobile, autonomous, and aerospace.

So, we’re sharing our tips for efficient and effective prototyping.

Utilize a Design Specialist

Before anything else, find a skilled design specialist that can help you on this journey. When you reach the design phase, you’ll want designers who are easy to work with and who can grasp your vision and create an accurate visual representation of it. Additionally, you’ll want a detailed design that can be referred to for precise details during the manufacturing stage. Utilize your designer’s skills and listen to their ideas. Although it’s still your idea, they may have some useful tips to improve your design.

Perform Market Research

The very first step in the design process involves researching your target market. As you learn about your potential customers, you can mold the product to fit their interests. Instead of diving into prototyping or even design, take the time to understand your customers. Before beginning prototyping, you should have a clear understanding of your product market, customer base, industry, and market trends. In order to attain information about the same, take advantage of market research software such as the kind you can find with Tivian (https://www.tivian.com/us/products/market-research/).

Test, Test, Test

Like prototyping, testing should not be completed in one round. Create a prototype, perform user testing with that prototype, and use the test data to refine your product and create a new version that you will then use for more testing. The more testing you perform, the more aligned your product will be with your customers’ needs and desires. As for commercial industries like aerospace, the prototype may have to go through multiple tests to ensure there are no errors in the design. When designing the prototype, aerospace parts manufacturing companies may use aerospace precision machining, advanced SolidWorks modeling, 5-axis machining, and other processes to reduce the chances of errors to keep the quality in check. Further, the more you test the prototype, the closer you will get to a manufacturable and sellable product.

Remain Critical

Although it can be tempting to rush through the process to end with a final product that you’re dying to bring to market, this part of the process is the most important. You have to remain critical throughout the whole step and only agree to a product that checks all the boxes of style and function that you dreamed of. Additionally, you need to be thinking critically about whether or not it works as you imagined and take time to pivot if it’s not. And most of all, don’t forget about your customers during this stage. Prototyping encourages feedback. Remember that a version you like may not be what your customers like. Don’t get too attached to any one version and listen to your audience. With these tips, you’ll have efficient and effective prototypes every time!

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