Choosing the right prototype

There are 3 factors that determine the kind of prototype to create: 

  1. The purpose of the prototype
  2. The realism of the prototype
  3. The medium of the prototype

Purpose of the prototype

There are 3 main purposes for using prototypes, depending on how far along the project is:

1. Co-design prototypes

Prototypes that are created in a workshop or group setting using paper, sketching, role-play, cardboard, etc.

2. Concept prototypes

Prototypes that help explain and clarify the core idea at the heart of an opportunity, from low-fidelity (like a storyboard or sketches) through high fidelity (like a series of mock-ups or a video showing future use).

3. Production prototypes

Prototypes to explore how an idea will work in detail and informs implementation. Allows for extensive testing or possible use in a pilot project setting.

How will the prototype be made?

The medium matters in prototyping. Different materials, from paper to digital to plastic, will get different responses to your prototype.

Choose a prototyping method/medium such as:

  • Paper (Sketch, Storyboard, Comic)
  • Screen (PowerPoint, Comic Life, Axure, Excel, HTML, Floorplan software)
  • Desktop Walkthrough (Business Origami, Lego / Playmobil)
  • Physical Mock-up (Role-play and improv, Cardboard / Foam core, Poster / brochure / form)
  • Telephony (VR, Call Centre – Faking interaction/automation (Wizard of Oz Concept)
  • Concept Video / Storyboard Animation