What is prototype? Have you been familiar with the term? If you are a product designer, web designer or any other specific designer, you won’t feel strange to hear a term of prototype. Taken form the standardized definition by Wikipedia, prototype is an early sample or model of a product which is created to test a concept or process. This term is used mostly in semantics, design, software programming and electronics.
Simply to understand, a prototype is used to test or evaluate a new design to enhance the accurateness using the system analyst and users. Prototype is frequently created in some design workflow models as the step to formalize and evaluate an idea.
Basic Prototype Categories
Below are the basic prototype categories you can explore for your intended design:
- A proof-of-principle prototype
It is to verify the key functional aspects of the design. However, the final product doesn’t always have all expected functionality.
- A working prototype
This one represents all the final product functionality.
- A visual prototype
Visual prototype includes the size and the appearance, not the functionality of product design. Visual prototype comes with the geometric features to emphasize the design, lessen the color, texture and other aspects of final appearance of a product design.
- A user experience prototype
The product appearance and functionality are represented by this kind of prototype. Hence, it can be used for the users’ research.
- A functional prototype
Functional prototype covers both the function and the appearance of a desired design even though the prototype is created using the different techniques and scale from the final design.
- A paper prototype
Paper prototype is the printed representation of the user interface used in a software product. This prototype is commonly used to test a software design and to confirm the design decision.
Characteristic Of Prototypes
To get a complete information to answer What is prototype, here are the characteristics of a good prototype you should notice.
A prototype is a basic representation of an original product covering how the product looks like and works.
Simply to understand, the more precise the prototype, the better the response and feedback will be.
A prototype must be functional. It must perform all the basic functions of the actual or original product.
Although in a minimum way, a prototype must be improvised as this is the prominent aspect of creating a prototype.