Prototype Model

Published Jun 5, 2023Updated Jun 9, 2023
Contribute to Docs

The Prototype model is a software development approach that involves creating a simplified model of the future product to test its concept and functionality with minimal resource costs. The process of creating a prototype involves a few steps based on testing results and feedback: development, testing, and continuous improvement.

The prototype may include only the essential design elements and features that are necessary for visualizing and demonstrating the fundamental capabilities of the product. Prototypes are used by the development team in collaboration with customers and stakeholders to test the product’s design, architecture, and functionality.

Objectives of Prototype Model

  1. Idea testing: Prototyping can determine the potential of an idea before the final product is created.
  2. Obtaining feedback: Prototypes provide an opportunity to receive feedback from users, colleagues, or investors, which can help improve the product.
  3. Reducing time and development costs: Prototyping helps identify problems early in the development process, reducing the time and costs associated with correcting errors in the future and improving the product’s quality.
  4. Improving communication between teams: By creating a prototype, the product takes on a tangible form and ceases to be abstract, making it easier to discuss the idea among project participants.
  5. Convincing stakeholders: Prototypes are an effective way to demonstrate a product’s potential to investors, clients, or management, which can provide necessary support and financing.

Types of Prototypes

Prototypes can be classified by the method of creation:

  1. Paper prototype: The simplest and fastest to create, requiring only pen and paper. It’s great for initial versions of prototypes. Paper prototypes show the structure and design of the product, as well as its basic functional elements.
  2. Digital prototype: Created in specialized software and services for prototyping. Digital prototypes accurately show product functionality and may contain additional elements, such as animations and interactive components.

Prototypes can also be classified by the level of detail:

  1. Low-fidelity prototype: Reflects the basic structure and functionality of the product, but does not include detailed design such as interface elements.
  2. High-fidelity prototype: A detailed and interactive prototype that includes interface design and other elements that will be present in the final product.

Stages in the Prototype Model

  1. Requirements gathering: At this stage, the project team communicates with customers, conducts research, and collects all the requirements for the future product.
  2. Design: At this stage, the structure and design of the product are determined. For example, for a website, this would include the number of pages, the purpose of each page, and the placement of key elements.
  3. Prototyping: Creating a prototype using the design that was developed in the previous stage.
  4. Prototype testing and feedback collection: The developed prototype is tested to identify errors and areas for improvement.
  5. Prototype refinement: The feedback obtained from testing is used to improve the prototype and meet the requirements of the product.
  6. Development: After the prototype has been refined and meets customer requirements, the team moves on to the final product development.

The Prototype model follows an iterative development process, where testing and feedback collection are conducted for each new version of the prototype. Based on the results of testing and new requirements for improving the prototype are formed, and a new version is released. This process is repeated until the prototype satisfies the interests of all project participants.

All contributors

Looking to contribute?

Learn More on Codecademy