What Do We Mean By Prototype?

Using Your Prototypes

Overview

Prototype is one of those words that everyone thinks is obvious until they start talking to people and realize it's not. Understandings seem to range anywhere from the first designs produced in any medium (sketching with a pencil on paper, for example) all the way to some kind of fully functional, high fidelity design that almost mimics what is intended for the real thing. In truth, both of those, and everything in between, can be prototypes.

Prototypes, broadly speaking, can mean just about any design that is intended to explore or specify a solution. But in software, more commonly, it does include some kind of interactive nature—otherwise we tend to say things like sketch, drawing, wireframe, or mockup. Sometimes there is a distinction between static and clickable with these things, meaning you can define hotspots on the static things and enable basic linking.

So what is a prototype in Indigo Studio?

In Indigo, you can do several kinds of prototypes, anything from just the static wireframe type all the way to an animated, interactive app concept prototype. You can also drop in static pictures (like whiteboard drawings) or mockups from other tools, add hotspots, and make them clickable. But where Indigo really shines is in going beyond the basic clickable mockup approach into fully interactive elements and even animating changes and transitions.

Most of the possibilities are expressed through screens in Indigo, so read What Are Screens Good For? to get a better sense of what your options are and go from there.

Scale of prototypes

With Indigo, you can do anything as small as just one transition/change on a screen all the way to a more complete app concept. You can do this with single screen approaches and States, or by connecting many screens. We recommend simply starting by prototyping just a screen or two and making them interactive, to get a better comfort level. You will begin to develop your own sense for where you find Indigo most helps you in your design efforts.

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