There are many different types of prototyping services. The product you are developing can influence the types you need to develop. Software prototyping can be anything, from cardboard cutouts that demonstrate the actions of youruser interface, to more complex functional prototypes that show the product inaction. In architecture, both digital models and paper miniatures are used togreat effect, since building scale prototypes would be next to impossible.
For the purposes of this article, we are sticking primarily to physical product prototyping. In general, this fallsinto two main categories: functional and aesthetic.
Thebest prototype companies would say that functional prototyping is any versionof the product intended to test and refine the practical aspects of theproduct. Take famed vacuum entrepreneur, JamesDyson, for example. His initial inspiration forhis line of fancy yet functional vacuum cleaners came from a visit to a sawmillwhere he saw them suck sawdust from the air using a centrifugal setup. This ledhim to the idea of a bag-less vacuum that could work better than conventionalvacuums.
Dyson’searly prototypes set aside the aesthetics of the product and set out to provethat this idea was possible. Once he knew it was feasible to create a compactversion of this sawmill technology, he set out designing it to look beautifulas well – which brings us to the next prototyping category.
Aestheticprototyping generally refers to a mostly non-functional type of prototyping.Famously, car designers use this type of prototyping to create their initialflashy designs. Another company famous for design places a heavy emphasis onaesthetics – tech hardware behemoth, Apple.
Back inthe late 90s, Steve Jobs and his sterling team of product designers at Applereinvented the traditional desktop computer. They wanted to create a new hubfor the internet age. One that would streamline the function of a PC, and giveusers a new experience, but most of all, they wanted it to look great.
SteveJobs knew the importance of function, but most of all, they wanted it to look great.
SteveJobs knew the importance of function, but he also was passionate about greataesthetic design. A product should look good, even as it offers you somethingyou cannot live without.
Neitherof these types is more important than the other, and once you perfect each, youcan create a final prototype that brings everything together and marries thetwo sides into one coin.