Prototyping: How to avoid the common mistakes

It’s a crucial part of the manufacturing process, but one might be surprised at the sheer number of mistakes that companies make when it comes to prototyping.

Instead of seeing this as a crucial part of your product development, a lot of businesses instead view it as something they need to get out of the door as quickly as possible.

Particularly with so many companies now offering 3D printing, prototyping really has gone to a new level over recent years. Through today’s post, we will now take a look at some of the areas of prototyping that you must keep on top of if you are serious about avoiding common mistakes.

Mistake #1 – You focus on the visuals

As we all know, product aesthetics are key when it comes to launching something new.

However, during the prototyping stage, this is something that you can ignore. Sure, if some functionality is going to impact the appearance of a product, then this needs to be taken into account. However, you need to be aware that the principle of prototyping is making sure that it works. For the time being, you don’t need to worry about how it looks – this can be done at a later date.

If you try and make a prototype look too polished, all you’ll do is take longer than you really should to launch your product.

Mistake #2 – You don’t test it properly

In some ways, this is the flip-side of the previous mistake.

While this is by no means your final, finished product – it should be a working version. Ultimately, while it won’t look the part, it should work exactly as you envisage.

This is where testing enters the picture. You need to make sure you are putting it through all of the necessary tests (and some creative ones in some cases), that are going to prove whether or not it will cut the mustard when it gets to the real world.

What sort of tests are we talking about? Anything from usability tests, right the way to a compliance assessment counts. Remember, your main aim here is to make sure that by the time that this product gets sent to development, there are no surprises around the corner which will cost your company time and money.

Mistake #3 – You wait too long

We’ve spoken a lot about the time-factor when it comes to prototyping, so let’s conclude with an entire section on this.

As you’ve probably already gathered, there’s a fine-line with prototyping. On one hand, you need to cover all bases when it comes to practicality, but on the other there are some areas which can be focussed on at a later date.

The worst thing you can do is span this process out. The best prototyping process involves continuously testing and re-developing, without big gaps in-between. By doing this, you will quickly iron out problems and ultimately, get your product to market much quicker.