A rudimentary version, either static or functional, of the Product that exhibits realistic form and function.


To enable direct examination of a design concept’s viability with a number of other methods such as Usability Testing or a Cognitive Walkthrough. Static prototypes (often paper) are helpful for gaining feedback on users’ intentions and various design elements. Functional prototypes (often coded) are helpful for observing how users interact with the product.


  1. Create a rudimentary version of your product. It can be static or functional. Think in the same way you would about a wireframe: demonstrate structure and relationships among different elements, but don’t worry about stylized elements.
  2. Give the prototype to the user and observe their interactions without instruction.
  3. After this observation, ask them to perform a specific task.
  4. Ask clarifying questions about why they do what they do. It can be helpful to have them narrate their thought process as they go along.
  5. Iterate - Prototypes should be quick and painless to create, and even more quick and painless to discard.


US Department of the Interior Natural Resources Revenue Data Prototype and Notes.

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