14 Best Practices For Effective Mobile App Prototyping


The mobile market is the most lucrative since most people own one or several mobile devices. When planning to release a mobile app, you have to start from the basics before you invest a fortune on impulse, and the product results in failure.

Best Mobile Prototyping Practices You Can Follow For Maximum Traction mobile prototyping best practices

Mobile prototyping can save you much trouble during the early development phases. To get the most out of all your prototyping efforts, today, we’ll guide you through the best mobile prototyping practices so that you can make the most out of your app before it’s fully developed.

What Is A Mobile App Prototype?

A mobile app prototype is a designed product version that looks and acts like an app but doesn’t have any working code behind it.

The version of the prototype we’re talking about is a clickable, interactive user demo on mobile devices that the potential users can navigate around to get a feel of the complete application.

It can also be a low-fidelity prototype, like a detailed paper sketch of the application interface and the app’s look during different instances.

The true goal of a mobile app prototype is to convey the feel of an application rather than the functionality of the application itself, and it can help finalize features for a mobile MVP.

Benefits Of Mobile Prototyping

Mobile prototyping has a few benefits similar to prototyping any other product. But let’s take a look at them anyway.

  • Saves Development Time And Costs
  • Provides Clarity To You, The Founder
  • Enables You To Sell Your Product Early
  • It allows You To Gather Feedback Faster

Saves Development Time And Costs

When you are only presenting an interactive demo or a paper sketch, you can get it done with the next to zero cost.

With an app prototype, whether it’s low fidelity or high fidelity, you get to validate your app idea, along with finding out the feasibility of your idea.

You can also determine product market fit by using your app prototype.

This way, you save precious development time and costs while earning customer empathy.

Provides Clarity To You, The Founder

When you have visual information of what you’re trying to achieve through your mobile app, it clarifies the overall idea of the app. It helps you focus on your goal more precisely.

That way, you can allocate development effort and resources after top-priority functions to solve the core pain points of your target user base.

Enables You To Sell Your Product Early

A well-designed, high-fidelity mobile app prototype can explain the complete intended functionality of the app to potential investors and stockholders.

If you land a killer pitch with a well-furnished prototype showing the app in action, you can secure funding for actual development.

It allows You To Gather Feedback Faster

When creating prototypes, it’s a great idea to generate the attention of the masses by sharing the prototype with your potential customers and users.

By doing so, you open up a way to receive valuable user feedback and implement it during the final development phase.

Mobile Prototyping: 14 Best Practices That You Should Implement In Your Next Project

Now that you know how much good a simple app prototype can do for the future of your mobile app, let’s take a look at our awesome list of 14 best mobile prototyping practices so that your development goes smoothly from start to finish:

1. Figure Out The User’s Persona

Do you know who’s going to use your app? If you’re sure, then congratulations! You already know your user persona. But that doesn’t mean your work is done.

Always do your best to research the market and your targeted users to create a user persona profile that is as detailed as possible. When you know whom you are designing for, you have a better idea of what to put in the design to make them happy.

2. Map Out The User Flow

A user flow is a diagram that illustrates the user’s path when using your app. When creating a user flow diagram, focus on how easily the users get to the function they need to use.

The fewer clicks users need to get to their problem-solving function, the better. Experiment with different versions of the user flow diagram to figure out the version your users feel the most comfortable with.

3. Start Simple, Start With Paper Prototypes

Now, you might think we’re suggesting a cheap way out here but do hear us out.

Creating a paper prototype is the most basic visual presentation of what you want to deliver to your customers design-wise.

When you visualize your mental models, it’s easy to come up with improvements based on that information.

And, of course, there’s no harm in sharing paper prototypes with your users too! Though most may not like the idea, you’re still bound to get valuable feedback or two from a paper prototype testing session.

4. Move To High Fidelity Prototypes When You’re Certain

Now that you’re done completing your paper prototyping after a lot of wasted papers and sharpened pencils, it’s time to go higher. And by that, I mean towards higher fidelity prototype options.

As mentioned earlier, a true mobile app prototype only has interactive functions without any working code. It’s considered an interactive prototype.

Once you are sure of all the minimal functions you want to implement in your app, create a clickable prototype or PoC version of the application.

Then share the prototype with the audience so that you can gather feedback based on user experience.

5. Keep The Details Minimalistic

You might need to put in as many details as possible in your prototype since it’s like a first impression that you’re presenting in front of your audience. That is where you’re mistaken.

The goal of any prototype is to deploy it as fast as possible and improve the design and functionality based on the gathered feedback.

Since rapid iteration is your priority here, you need to keep the whole thing as lightweight as possible for fast deployment. Also, you need to ensure that you aren’t overwhelming users with many details.

Ditch all the additional details like fancy colors, CSS styles, built-in text styles, and other visual effects to ensure so.

6. Allot More Development Time For The Features

You can easily get stuck in an endless loop of feature creep when trying to implement features in the prototype. But the thing to remember here is that a prototype’s goal is to test the product.

So even if you want to add a lot of different functions, save them for later on. For the test, only add the functions that you want to test.

7. Forget Placeholders Exist, And Use Actual Content

It may sound a bit contradicting but don’t make your app prototype too minimal using placeholders. Stick to using real content instead. But why?

Here is an unpopular opinion: content structure is a huge part of the user experience along with the design itself.

No amount of simplistic/ fancy design ideas will appeal to anyone if they start finding “lorem ipsum” texts everywhere.

When using real content, you give the users a better feel and sense of how the app would work with real functionalities. Doing so is never possible with placeholder text or images.

8. Test With Real Users And Devices

You could test your mobile prototype on virtual devices like emulators and such. Still, it will give you a different feel than what is not authentic. So, how do you solve it?

Make your prototype so real human beings can test it with real devices. No matter how good your virtual environment is, some things can’t be simulated within the virtual environment.

The most important is the human touch interaction with your interface on mobile phones.

9. Limit Single Functions To Each View

Mobile apps have to be simpler by design for modern audiences. Since they are easily distracted by different features and visual elements, don’t expect them to find a single action button in a sea of visuals.

The best solution is to limit a single function to each view. That way, the design compels the users to focus on their needs.

10. Don’t Forget Ancillary Screens

When designing the app, most must remember to design a simple thing: the loading screen. It may seem uninteresting to you, but it’s another underrated detail many don’t pay attention to.

Always add an ancillary screen to your app to communicate the errors and delays with the users. That way, you come off as a developer who pays attention to detail.

11. Always Be At A Fast Pace

Remember: your prototype is not the final thing. You may need to put this and that here and there. Still, the goal is to keep it minimalistic to the point that it doesn’t take much time to develop or follow through while taking as little time as possible.

Always ensure that you are spending less time creating the prototype and more time on the final development process.

12. Consider Gathering Every Feedback

User feedback is the most valuable asset you can ever have in development, whether it’s a prototype or the final product.

You receive user feedback based on individual user experiences with your key features. Each feedback can help you improve your prototype, which can help you improve the final product.

13. Don’t Fear The Negativity

There will always be negative comments. But if you stop working in fear of them, you only hinder your progress and development. Negative feedback is something that is just as important.

Find the issue that incited the feedback, and work on improving it. That way, your prototype, and the final product will be much better than you intended.

14. Always Mind Pareto’s Rule (80/20 Rule)

Pareto’s rule states that 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. In the case of mobile prototyping, this can go three different ways:

  • 80% of your income comes from 20% of your customers
  • 80% of your app’s wonders come from 20% of the features
  • 80% of the app’s beauty comes from 20% of the design process

But don’t let that make you lazy, and design only 20% of the app. The magic comes from designing the app with the right priorities in mind.

To Wrap It Up

Prototyping your mobile app is the best way you can take when you’re planning to validate your idea with minimal effort and expenses compared to a full-fledged application.

Just remember the best mobile prototyping practices we listed here, and implement them every step along the way. Good luck!


What Is Mobile Prototyping?

Mobile prototyping is the idea of creating an interactive prototype for your mobile app.

Why Is Mobile Prototyping Important for App Development?

Mobile prototyping can help the developers decide on the right track for development by analyzing to see what works and what doesn’t.

How Can Mobile Prototypes Help Developers and Designers?

Mobile prototyping can help developers determine the right path to implement the intended functions. The designers can choose the most convenient design that users find comfortable.

How Can Mobile Prototypes Help Improve User Experience (UX)?

Mobile prototypes can help users interact with, and decide on features that feel the most convenient, and designers can implement the desired choices.

How Can Mobile Prototypes Help With Usability Testing?

Users can interact with mobile prototypes and provide feedback on their journey through the interactive prototype. Developers can consider this feedback and improve the app’s overall usability.