What is prototyping:- Prototyping is a working model which is based on interaction between analysts & users, built as a preliminary solution to a problem.
A prototype is built, tested & then reworked as necessary until on acceptable prototype is finally achieved from which the complete system can be developed.
Types of Prototypes
While a prototype can be in the form of paper, digital, miniature or a partial product, all of these can be categorized into three categories on the basis of what they represent.
Functional prototypes are designed to imitate the functions of the actual product as closely as possible no matter how different they look from the actual product.These types of prototypes are produced for the products which are dependent on the function rather than the display.
For example: creating a backend prototype without working on the frontend of the website.
Display prototypes are designed with more focus on the look and feel of the product rather than the functions. These prototypes may or may not function but represent the look of the actual product very well.
Display prototypes are usually used in the fashion industry and in other industries where looks are more important.
Miniatures are smaller versions or the basic versions of the product focused on both the functional aspect as well as the display aspect. Nevertheless, these aren’t the actual products and lack many qualities of the actual product like not working at full capacity, etc.
Miniatures are usually developed by the 3D printing of the product.
From a usability perspective, the prototypes can be categorized into:
Throwaway prototype refers to the models which are eventually discarded or thrown away rather than becoming a part of the actual product. These products are only used to represent what an actual product can do. Throwaway prototypes are also called close ended prototypes
Evolutionary prototyping uses a different approach than throwaway prototyping and involves building a basic but robust prototype in a manner which can further be improved and built upon to form an actual saleable product. This avoids wastage of resources.
Need of Prototyping:
Prototyping is basically used:
- When the requirements are difficult to specify in advance.
- To develop a conceptual understanding of possible problems solutions.
- To verify that user needs are being met & the ideas & assumptions about a new system are to be experimented quickly by the user at less cost.
Advantages of Prototyping:-
- Shorter development time.
- More accurate.
- Greater user participation & support.
- Less cost.
Steps to build Prototype:-
- Identify the user’s requirements.
- Develop a prototype that meet the user’s requirements.
- Allow the user to use the prototype, discuss requested changes & implement the main changes.
- Repeat the next version of the prototype with further changes incorporated until the system fully meets user requirements.