For many product creators, designers and developers, one of the best parts of making a brand new product is the prototyping process. They get to hold ever-more-refined versions of their own creation in their hands, tweaking and molding and making corrections and adding features and functionality as they go. Their goal is for every prototype to be better than the last, and that they eventually end up with one that will convince buyers to open their wallets.
But many are unfamiliar with the journey to that point. There are many types of prototypes, each of which serves a unique purpose, and some of which are optimal for certain product types. Here are just a few you may encounter when you work with Enventys Partners to refine your new product.
Proof of Concept
The proof of concept is the earliest version of your product. Its purpose is to show that a small subset of technology or ideas can be successfully assembled, and that it can be integrated into complex systems. At this stage, whether or not it actually has real-world applications or functionality is not considered. Proofs of concept will not have the appearance of a final product, and may not be constructed of the same materials as later versions. This prototype will be used simply to confirm the validity and viability of your idea.
3D printing is an excellent method for producing proof of concept prototypes and for integrating subsequent improvements. 3D printing saves time, money and effort compared to tooling a production line to manufacture a small number of units. The technique is efficient, producing little or no waste. You can execute a change in design simply by reprogramming the system and commissioning another prototype.
Designs for Demonstration
If you are preparing to pitch your product to potential investors, you will likely want a design for demonstration. At this point, you have determined all technologies that will be used in your product and combined them into one working prototype. It may not be aesthetically pleasing or perfectly designed, but it is perfect for demonstrating that the product is real and that it works.
A functional prototype is a unit in which all the features work, but the configuration of the product has not yet been finalized. The production of this form of prototype provides a clear demonstration of the viability of the product, yet allows for changes to increase the usability and desirability of the final version.
Ideally, purchasing and using your product should evoke feelings of pleasure and satisfaction in the buyer. Color, shape and feel must produce a positive response. Rounded shapes are often perceived as more desirable than sharp corners. Consumers may prefer softer materials to harder ones, and a matte finish often conveys a luxurious impression. Aesthetic prototypes are used to determine the most appealing form factor for your product.
Alpha and Beta Builds
After a working prototype has been successfully tested, we can produce an alpha unit that can be used for nearly final fine-tuning. For the last step in your development cycle, we can integrate improvements indicated by alpha testing into a beta unit for additional refinement using feedback from distribution to trusted customers or test groups. Responses to the beta unit can determine the changes that must be made before your product is production-ready.
Our facilities have the capacity to produce a full range of prototypes for any stage of product development. Are you ready for prototyping to take your vision to the next level? Request a quote or contact us for more information.