Prototyping Approaches

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How will you build your prototype? You may use one or more approaches at the same time. Here’s a brief explanation of some of the prototyping methods (the ones applicable for us in this program):

Parallel Prototyping 

You create and test multiple prototypes at once. So instead of creating one prototype, testing it, and then coming back to redesign and test again, you test different prototypes with different user groups at the same time to find out which functionalities/designs work the best.

Subsystem isolation

This is similar to building a proof of concept (POC) – to test one specific function/aspect in isolation. This type may be useful in tech-heavy costly projects and you should spend enough time to test each function isolation is the success of the venture depends on this.

Wizard of Oz

This is probably the coolest trick used in prototyping. The idea is create an impression that the process is fully automated, while in reality there would be a person (a group of people) behind the scene. For example, if you intend to build an app which would give different voice message depending on how user interacts with it, using Wizard of Oz technique you’d have a person who would (hiding somewhere) say the message, creating an impression for the user that the sound is coming from the app. 

Role Playing

An easy, fast and cheap to produce prototype, especially useful for services, where you will role-play the prototype with your target customers or even empathic team members who are able to accurately replicate the behavior of your audience.

Paper Prototyping

Especially useful if you want to test digital products (apps, robots with screens, websites, etc.). This is visual representation of steps one-by-one which helps clearly see the usability flow. It is also great for early-stage designs for internal use. 


Create a series of sketches each showcasing how your target audience uses your product or service step-by-step. This method is the most useful for showcasing your product/service to a potential investor or another stakeholder, but not so useful in getting feedback as it’s rooted in imagination more and lacks a physical aspect of interacting with a product/service.

Decide which prototyping approaches you will be using to test your idea and mark all of the selected methods in the respective box in the canvas.