Navigating the landscape of prototyping is not just about building tools, but about developing intuitive, efficient, and adaptable solutions that cater to a wide audience - from beginners to professionals.
Being at the helm of Proto.io's PR & Communications, Constantinos Vitoratos is no stranger to the world of innovation and design. In our in-depth chat with Constantinos, we dive into the world of prototyping, not forgetting about the constant strive for better accessibility and how AI might help us get there.
Whether you're a novice designer, a seasoned professional, or someone who is merely curious about these possibilities, Constantinos's insights should help get a perspective on where the industry is headed.
Constantinos Vitoratos is the Head of PR & Communications at Proto.io. He is passionate about technology, traveling, creative writing, and language learning. Before embarking on a journey with Proto.io, Constantinos was a Senior Advertising Account Manager at Amazon and an Administration & Communication Assistant at the Hellenic Army.
Spotlight: Can you explain Proto.io’s approach to prototyping and how it differs from similar options on the market?
Constantinos: Proto.io's slogan is "Prototyping for all" and this was our main goal when building the product. Most tools offer only basic or advanced prototyping capabilities, however, Proto.io has a huge array of features, allowing beginners and professionals alike to prototype based on their needs.
Users can make both simple low-fidelity prototypes for a quick presentation or proof of concept, as well as realistic, animated prototypes, which they could even use for a funding pitch, for instance.
Accessibility is crucial for platforms like Proto.io. How do you ensure it remains user-friendly while offering depth and flexibility?
We have a lot of corporate clients who put accessibility as one of their priorities and chose Proto.io because of our Player's (a.k.a. prototype preview) accessibility score.
One of the most important things is that our Player is compatible with screen readers for people with visual impairment - that even includes descriptions of all images included in the prototype.
Now when it comes to the Editor, I must admit that, because of the huge variety of features and libraries available, some things can be improved in the direction of accessibility. It's something we are constantly working on, one small step at a time.
What kind of customer support and training resources does Proto.io offer to its users?
User support is one of our biggest investments at Proto.io. We boast a first-response average time of less than 30 minutes, which is much faster than most companies in our industry do.
We also offer our users a Video Academy with audiovisual material, covering most of the common use cases. For anything that is not covered within these videos, our support agents are always happy to help via chat.
Proto.io offers over 1000 templates to its users. Can you talk about the template creation process, and what kind of templates are the most popular in 2023?
We invested heavily in adding a big library of templates around 2019, seeing that our users were eager to cut down on the time spent on designing prototypes. Many are university students or non-designers, so particularly for these groups' templates were game-changing.
Creating a prototype with templates is extremely easy — it possibly takes more time to browse through all the available options than putting together the prototype itself. I'd say people have shown a lot of love for homepage layouts, probably because in many cases that is enough for them to put together a proof-of-concept prototype.
There also seems to be more demand for mobile than desktop templates, which is logical due to today's mobile app culture.
Templates alone are not enough. What kind of advice can you share with our readers to maximize their work on Proto.io?
Proto.io contains multiple libraries comprising not just templates but also icons and Android/iOS components. Take advantage of all that, mix and match, experiment and I am sure some great things will come out with minimum effort!
Can you talk about Proto.io’s scalability options? What kind of tools do you have available for teams that need to share, edit, and create while working on the same project?
Proto.io allows users to share snapshots of their work with their team, which is a huge benefit missing from many other tools. It's also possible to share a prototype in real time with stakeholders.
The Proto.io Player allows reviewers to leave comment threads to provide feedback. For more detailed feedback, Proto.io integrates with some of the most popular and trustworthy user testing tools.
Lastly, admins can assign the role of "designer" to specific users — this is particularly useful in companies or universities, where there's a team lead or instructor who needs to assign different projects to different individuals.
Can you expand on Proto.io’s integration with other apps and devices? How do you ensure users’ prototypes are compatible with the other tools they use?
Proto.io users can import design work from four popular design tools: Sketch, Figma, Adobe XD, and Adobe Photoshop. For teams that use Jira, Confluence, or Trello for internal collaboration, there's an integration available for each of these tools, allowing users to get a dynamic, interactive prototype preview window embedded in any task.
Proto.io is also compatible with some of the world's most trustworthy testing tools so that users can make informed decisions based on real potential user input. We decided on these integrations based on two parameters: popularity and ease of implementation.
When is the best time to prototype during the development of a project, and what should businesses keep track of during this process?
The whole point is to start prototyping as early as possible so that teams can evaluate potential pain points and benefit from time and cost savings when it comes to development. We generally recommend that users start from low-fidelity wireframes at the ideation stage and develop their prototype as the product design process develops.
Prototypes need to be one step ahead of development constantly — they are excellent to include in development team briefings, showcase in scrum meetings, and append to any documentation efforts.
With AI becoming prominent in the B2B industry, how does Proto.io see it being applied in prototyping?
Although it's hard to foresee the full scale of AI's capabilities at the moment, I expect AI to become able to generate very simple prototypes in the near future, as long as the user has a clear idea of what they want to achieve.
I believe that AI will do a better job at putting together wireframes and low-fidelity prototypes, but with the right input and some patience, it will probably be in the position to create more complex projects as well.
Are there any new features or plans on Proto.io’s horizon that our readers should be on the lookout for?
The interesting thing about Proto.io is that it sometimes feels like it includes way too many features, rather than the opposite. Because of that, we've received feedback from a small number of users that the learning curve of the tool can be a little steeper in comparison to others.
Therefore, we decided to invest time and effort in simplifying some things in our Editor, as well as improve the overall tool performance and speed. We are in close contact with our user community and whenever we see steady demand for specific things, we tend to prioritize those in our pipeline.