DEV Community

Vaibhav Namburi
Vaibhav Namburi

Posted on • Updated on

How to build your first prototype and what to expect

Spoiler: No Code is involved

There are tonnes of ways you can get around this, I’ll share a few and the linear process I take to deliver stuff QUICK but more importantly of extreme immediate value that “further validates my cause”!

PS: If you haven’t at this point already read Hooked or Evil by Design, you should give them a go - life changing and pivotal for any founder.

So step one is to use your research from the previous article (if you read it) to work out what the pain points your customers have faced are, how often they face it, and what about their current solution bothers them the most (important)

Get a piece of paper and write in big bold letters the total time you’ll spend on this. And make sure you stick to this timing, its important to establish prioritisation ASAP. Create 3 columns, Needs, Wants, Outcomes

Write down all the Needs YOU think are necessary to make the product a success, then write down all the wants and make sure sure you write down the outcome you expect when you create this “needs” for a product (can be something like push notifications)

Alright, now wipe out all the wants, just focus on the needs for this very moment. Wants are luxuries. So with the list of needs and outcomes, work out which outcomes are MOST important to your customer, all research from our last email.

Conform yourself to 2-5 features and then let’s start building with complete focus on outcome-driven success.

Go to a tool like ,, - all super simple and beginner-friendly tools that have HEAPS of prebuilt components like MAPS, contact lists the usual stuff ready.

This is where you need to recheck your goal very often, what is the goal of building this prototype? Is it to just demo a concept? Is it to show people a new way of doing something? Is it a new way of thinking about an existing solution?

Make sure you build your prototype around your validation goal, or just goal. And REMEMBER, not everyone will get your prototype - people are visual creatures and most people are not innovators (The 5 Stages of Technology Adoption | literally if you have a sample group of 100 people, only 2.5 of them will kinda get what you’re doing - so don’t be discouraged.

So yeah, take the feedback you get from here with a pinch of salt - you’re looking for words like “oh this is great”, “whoa that would be awesome”, “ah yeah I get that”, nice but subtle reactions

Build a simple clickable prototype and then send it to friends and ask pressing questions such as “does this approach solve the problem you have right now?”, “will you pay for something that does this?”, “Do you see yourself every using this?”

Collect all the feedback you get from people you’ve shared this with and go back to the drawing board clustering patterns of similarity and complaints - build around the customer and use your innovative mindset to offer that special sauce.

Timebox yourself again and spend a little more time around addressing the feedback your audience have given, mainly around your approach solving their problem, and if it did or didn’t do so.

Iterate around three pillars, your goals, your customer's goals and the highest level of impact to deliver optimal value to your customer. With this you should have built an extremely minimal and ridiculously basic version of your product you can then look at sharing with a professional designer or engineering it yourself!

I've learnt this helping and observing all the successful startups and companies we work with at five2one and I encourage you to use a test and build approach as well

If you liked this, definitely follow me on for the similar stuff:


Top comments (0)