Once you have your prototype in your hands, the next thing you need to do is test it out. There are many things that you’ll need to do based on the type of prototype that you have – and not everything will apply. For example, testing out a machine prototype vs. a lipstick component is going to be different.
Why should you test your prototype?
Testing your prototype will allow you to make the best version of your product. You want to meet the needs of your intended customer, and to do that; you need to make sure it is fit for purpose. Prototyping enables you to gather information to confirm the choices you have made and refine further.
So what should you be considering when it comes to testing your prototype?
A breadboard is an alpha proof of concept stage of anything that would use a circuit. You’ll be deciding if the concept works and if the idea is capable of going further or not.
You might run two, three, or more breadboard stages until you find the right idea to move forward with. This stage is vital so that you don’t start manufacturing or tooling.
No matter what you buy, almost every part of your life will have been force tested. Force testing is testing how durable the item is. If you drop it, doesn’t it break? If so – how? Can it be improved or prevented?
Sometimes force testing comes into place when products have slides, clips, or buttons – how much force do you need to make that part work?
What you’re looking for here is if the product was used as intended, with the intended forces – how long would it last? And what are the breaking points for it?
In many stages of your design and build, CAD will come into play. It can be specifically used in the prototype testing stage with portable CMM services. Simulation models, testing, measurements, and more are a must.
Not only that but depending on the product, you will be able to identify areas that could be impacted by high stress and could potentially lead to failed designs.
Moderated and Unmoderated
When ready to move to user testing, there are two ways that you can do it. Moderated, where you watch people interact with the item and see if they use it as intended. You’ll record the findings and get real-time feedback.
For unmoderated testing, an item will be given to testers, and they will report back on how they found the product. The downside of unmoderated testing is that you can’t fully understand the data; however, it is cheaper.
Prototypes are one of the best ways to learn about how users interact with your product, understand the data, apply it to your product, and improve it. It is also possible to test two ideas at the same time and see which one has the preference for your intended customers.
Ultimately your prototype can be one of the things that help you stand out from your competitors, just like these other tips: 4 Simple Ways to Stand Out from Your Close Competitors – Amanda Arthur Krill.