What is a Clickable Prototype?
The value of user experience design goes way beyond making things look good. A clickable prototype is a UX solution that can be useful for many purposes:
- A clickable prototype can help product owners to sell their idea to company leadership or investors.
- A clickable prototype will help to capture the correct amount of screens and workflow steps necessary in an application.
- A clickable prototype can be invaluable to developers who will be building the back end of a product.
- A clickable prototype can be a critical stage in usability testing to identify design issues before development even begins.
Hi-Fi vs Lo-Fi Prototypes
A user engaging with a clickable prototype will be able to click on a part of a screen to get to the next page or next interaction of a user flow. In this sense, you can get a really good feel for the visual style of an app as well as the user experience.
It’s important to note that clickable prototypes only represent the front end of an application. All functionality won’t be available, because no data and back end code exists at this point.
A clickable prototype is also referred to as a high-fidelity prototype because it represents both the interaction design and visual design.
Wireframes are a typical pre-cursor to hi-fi prototypes in the product development lifecycle. Wireframes might also be referred to as lo-fi prototypes. Wireframes are an even faster way to document and represent user flows without interactivity and visual styling.
Why Should You Use Clickable Prototypes?
While clickable prototypes may be more costly than their lo-fidelity counterparts, they are still relatively quick and inexpensive while providing immense value to the overall product development lifecycle. As mentioned above, one of the most important reasons for creating a clickable prototype is that the team can learn a lot about the user experience and technical requirements before moving into the development stage.
When Should You Use Clickable Prototypes?
It’s never too early to identify potential real users of your application. Once you get to the clickable prototype stage, you can ask them to validate the functionality and flows of your user experience design. Catching any errors and improving the experience at this stage can help you avoid the cost of rework that grows exponentially in later stages of development.
Whether you’re developing your product idea internally as part of a larger organization or you’re an entrepreneur launching a new digital product idea, you need to regularly present and gather feedback on the viability of your project. A great presentation deck might be the first step in presenting your idea, but a clickable prototype will really help to sell your stakeholders as they get a visual representation of the features and functionality of the app.
Depending on the prototyping tool used, you can even include advanced visuals, like transitions, animations, and micro-interactions. These can help further understanding of the app functionality while exciting stakeholders or investors.