prototipo web

Web prototyping and application prototyping

Do you know what web prototyping is? During the process of analysis of a particular software, and in the specific case of web applications, it is very useful to develop an application’s prototype (also called wireframe) that captures the idea that the client is trying to convey. This way we can validate it before developing it.

Web prototyping as part of the contract

The prototyping should be an analysis document more than when approved by the customer will be a commitment both by the developer company to offer a software solution that reflects what was specified in the prototype, and by the client who should not modify what is reflected therein once development has begun.

A double-edged sword

The advantages of web and app prototyping are innumerable but you have to be careful; it is a double-edged sword that can turn against you, since a bad prototype can be worse than the total absence of it in the analysis. This must be very clear in functionality, precise, detailed and faithful to reality in every way. The behavior of the application in all cases must be included, complementing the screens with notes and explanatory annexes of each functionality of the application.

The risk of not leaving all the points closed is very high for the application provider, since the customer could ask for certain functionality of the application that “looked like it was going to be included” by looking at the prototype. This kind of misunderstandings are avoidable, as I said before, with enough care in the prototyping. The time invested, like all the time invested in the analysis phase, is usually amortized with a shorter development, less problematic and with fewer changes by the customer.

Prototyping tools

There are numerous applications that will help us when performing web prototyping, paid or free, multiplatform or not, web or desktop tools; the range is very wide, as we can do it with applications whose main purpose is not the prototyping of software applications.

Sometimes, the most convenient way is to use a tool with which we are already familiar, such as a presentation editor of an office suite (PowerPoint for example) or vector graphics software (FreeHand, FireWorks, Visio, etc). But there is also a wide market of specific applications.

Some of the best known are:

  •  Via web: Pencil (GPL-licensed Firefox plugin), iPlotz (with various payment plans).
  •  Desktop: WireframeSketcher (Eclipse plugin, cheap), JumpChart (with collaborative tools), Axure (very interesting, but expensive and only for Windows), Justinmind Prototyper (for Windows and Mac, quite expensive), Gliffy (in addition to wireframe, allows other diagrams like MS Visio).


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