When you bring up the term "prototype", many of you might think of early models of cars or machinery. Whatever the case, you probably agree it's something that doesn't look like the real deal yet.
In our line of work, that's arguably the most important aspect of a good prototype. How are you going to trust feedback on a new website or app when all you show to people is a bunch of wireframes? But doesn't the requirement for fancy design greatly increase its cost and time estimate? Not really, Bothrs builds these in a single day regardless. Then, the next day, we invite 5 users to conduct an interview.
So why do these prototypes matter? In some cases, the need for a specific feature, website, or app is clear as day so why waste any more time? The simple answer is, even if you know for a fact your customers want X or Y, that's still no guarantee you'll be building a great digital product for them.
And this is exactly the kind of thing you can quickly test with people, using a prototype. It'll help you build a better roadmap much faster.