Prototypes give you a way to find out if you are on the right track before committing to the risky business of building and launching a product.
Prototyping saves you time and money by exposing usability failures early in your project, allowing you to fix them before they become a bigger issue. This prepares you for development, avoiding the pitfalls of a long and costly stop-start build and launch process. Learning what needs attention without building and launching is a key aspect that makes prototyping so essential.
What are your objectives?
Depending on what you want to achieve, or the audience you need to target at the stage you are at, the level of fidelity needed will vary.
Sell an idea
Prototypes are an important tool for bringing an idea to life for presenting to potential investors and clients. For a case like this the functionality of the prototype can be limited to its core concept and flow. A high fidelity and polished feel can help sell your idea and showcase your core features in a tangible way. If someone can interact with your idea, they can understand it better.
Test User Experience
Prototypes for user testing are an invaluable tool. They enable you to expose problems and usability flaws early, giving you the time to fix them. A refined high fidelity protype, complete with complex interactions, in the hands of a user can help you to refine your user experience and maximise effectiveness. Experience is king.
Prove a concept
A low fidelity prototype can be used internally within a team to prove a concept and gauge its feasability, and most importantly, fail cheaply. This can help you focus on aspects of your concept that need to be honed and help you make vital decisions at an early stage of the project, saving time and money.
A prototype can be used to test the logic and flow of your idea. Illogical or confusing flow can be detrimental to your UI and result in an immediate loss of users. A low fidelity prototype that incorporates basic interactions and flow, can expose massive failures that cannot be seen on the page and provide you with clarity of vision at an early stage.