Application Prototyping

From white boarding workflows to high-fidelity user interface prototypes, our experts can help transform your ideas into real world apps people love to use.

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Strategy, research, and design to create engaging web and mobile experiences that drive business value.

Creating winning mobile apps, responsive web apps, and complex B2B or B2C Enterpise software is hard work. Fortunately for you, our multi-disciplinary team has the skills and experience to help you make the critical product strategy decisions and support your team through research and design so they can build something great.

Taking your ideas from the back of a napkin into the real world.

Whether you started with a list of ideas and crossed through all your "no"s to arrive at the winner, or are working through a foggy haze of ideas, we can help you get your startup from concept to action plan.

Structured brainstorming, intentional soak periods, and well-placed clarifying questions help us narrow in on your exact product or service idea. Then we build a roadmap for getting your minimum viable product off the ground.

The Prototyping Process

Concept Sketches

This phase usually happens on a whiteboard or sketch book. It’s intended to get a rough idea of the various views or screens the application will need and how things will be arranged on those views. The idea is to move fast and uncover as many issues as possible before moving into a digital tool.

The work session starts with a simple whiteboard sketch of the application concept. At this point we can talk through the various ideas of what information needs to be on screen, how big all the items should be, where to put various UI elements and controls, and other ideas about functionality and workflow.

At this stage:
  • Discuss rough ideas, workflow, and define the general layout.
  • Appearance: Hand-drawn on whiteboard or sketchpad.
  • No interactivity.

Low-Fidelity Wireframes

The first step into a digital product, the wireframe, is essentially a tool to formalize the sketches and make high-level decisions about how the application should function. We take what we agreed to in the sketch phase and create each screen showing the basic size and layout of the parts of the website or application.

This is when we discuss details about the information and content that should be on the screen, where it should be, and start mapping out interactions. Adding interactions is what transforms a wireframe into a prototype.

At this stage:
  • Define overall layout, content areas, and interactive elements. Refine layout and begin mapping out on-page and navigation interactions.
  • Black and white. Some text, outlines, boxes, and other shapes as needed. Shades of gray help indicate the priority of elements.
  • Minimal to no interactivity, just enough to move between screens at most.

Medium-Fidelity Prototypes

Things begin to take real shape and feel like a functional application. We start adding basic content and interaction to the wireframes so you can get a feel for moving between screens and how things will respond. We stay in black and white at this phase because we want to stay focused on functionality and the usefulness of the content.

At this point, most projects are ready to begin development. There is enough detail for your team to wite user stories and demonstrate to a developer what needs to happen and how things should work.

At this stage:
  • Discuss content placement and visual priority. Refine workflows and on-page interactions.
  • Add minimal shading or color. Some text and image content to communicate details as needed.
  • Minimal to no interactivity, just enough to move between screens at most.

High-Fidelity Prototypes

A high-fidelity prototype is essential for complex applications or established development teams. It will outline every detail of the interface including colors, font styles and sizes, placement of each element with precision, and describe all the interactions that should happen.

High-fidelity adds full-color, fonts, images, and many of the interactions needed to feel like a complete application.

The idea at this phase is to provide a very realistic idea of what the application will look like and how it will work to your users and executive stakeholders for validation and approval.

High-fidelity prototypes are also an excellent aid for developers to ensure they see exactly how the application should look and feel, leading to fewer errors and less rework.

At this stage:
  • Discuss details of colors, font styles and weights, images, icons, and other visual elements.
  • Full-color with text and images. It should look and feel like a real application, without any actual functionality.
  • Adds some complex on-page interactions and limited motion or animation if needed. Could feel almost like a real application.

Stages of Application Prototyping

It’s all about saving time, effort, and money.

Nobody likes waste, and the whole purpose of prototyping is to create agreement and a clear vision for what you’re going to build. Our team has over 30 years of experience making software, websites, and mobile applications. We’ve learned how to use prototyping to make the most of your budget and deliver a great result.

Case Study
Validating Ideas at Circle K

Our team helped prototype and design proof-of-concept mobile app with a new workflow so people could shop the closest store and have their items  ready for pickup in store or delivery at the pump when they arrive.

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Insights
Sprinting Like a Designer

 Incorporating user feedback and testing into the design and development cycle early on as things are being created means better insights delivered faster, and less time wasted on useless or unusable features.

Read the Article

Without going though this process we would have made lots of expensive mistakes. Nine Labs helped us turn our ideas into an app that’s both beautiful and usable.

Jonatan Schumacher - Co-Founder and CTO, Konstru

What To Expect:

Discovery & Planning

Work sessions with your team to map out the application and decide which screens need to be sketched out.

The outcome of these interactive whiteboarding sessions is what we refer to as the UX Flow document that will serve as a reference for all future work.

Sketching Sessions

Interactive work sessions with your team to sketch out each screen in the application.

We’ll discuss what information should be on screen, which UI elements are needed to perform various functions, and the size and location of each piece of information and UI element.

Fidelity Iterations

Once all the screens are defined in sketches we work with your team to increase the fidelity.

At each level of fidelity we gather feedback from stakeholders and users to ensure the application is on track to deliver a fantastic user experience to your customers.

The Details:

Investment:
Typical project budgets range from $25,000 to $400,000.
Location:
In-person is preferred, but all sessions can be held remotely from anywhere in the world.
Duration:
Expect the Discovery & Planning sessions to take at least several weeks from start to finish. Sketching Sessions usually take a few weeks. Each round of Fidelity Iterations can take several weeks. All timing depends on the complexity of the application and the number of review/revision cycles you request.
Scheduling:
We can usually schedule the first Discovery Meeting within 14 business days.
Participation:
Critical leaders and decision makers from your team must participate.
Deliverables:
For the Discovery & Planning Phase you can expect an Executive Summary, including:
  • User Task Outline documenting the tasks your users need to complete using this application
  • UX Flow Document showing all the screens of the application and how they are connected 
  • Roadmap for creating and implementing the sketches, wireframes, and prototypes with your team
For the Sketching Phase you can expect:
  • Photos of all whiteboard sketches with any accompanying notes
  • Reference document showing which sketches are associated with which screens in the UX Flow
For each Fidelity Iteration you can expect:
  • All screen assets delivered in Sketch & InVision or Figma
  • Reference document showing which sketches are associated with which screens in the UX Flow
  • Other documentation and deliverables as may be required or requested by you

Nine Labs has helped us deliver amazing value to our customers time and time again. Their ability to take nebulous concepts and drill down until they become quality products is second to none.

Adam Ferrando - Delta Air Lines