Rapid prototyping is core to getting your idea off the ground. It’s a super quick way to design your app’s user interface for free. I’ve felt the urge to run to a cheap freelancer on Fivrr to punch out some screens. We’ve got resist the temptation for these easy vanity wins.
The best way to achieve this is to not spend any money at all! Go and download POP at https://popapp.in/ on your mobile. It makes smart and sharp app prototypes, but it only does half the work. You need to draw up your interface yourself and it will help you string it together.
The aim is simple, on a whiteboard write out all the major screens as heading and then all features each one will have. These are just big headings like signup, home or settings. For example, signup could be the heading and underneath it, the features could be facebook, email, slack signup, terms and conditions and a forgot password. Now link each heading together below with arrows to show how the user goes from one screen to another like a flowchart.
Next, you want to analyze existing app on the market for what the best practice or normal design theme is. App design doesn’t change a ton over time and you will be able to pick certain commonalities between apps in the same category. A really rapid way to achieve this investigation to use http://pttrns.com/ which has hundred of user interface split up into categories. Pick the one you below to and check out what’s around.
Once you’ve understood what normally is in your space you want to start sketching on some grid paper, on a whiteboard or on an app outline template. Fill in each screen as per the features on the headings. Use pencil so you can iterate as you makes mistakes and get better at user interface design. Remember it’s not about fine pointed accurate design it’s rough and ready and used to communicate an overall flow.
Once you’ve got your screens it’s time to open up POP and take images of each screen. Link them together as per the flow you outlined on the whiteboard. Then share it around, get feedback and improve your prototype. You’ve now got a super lean prototype you can show to anyone. And once you’re certain this is the format you want you can shoot it all over to a UI designer to clean it up and make it production ready.