Develop, evaluate or communicate a concept, design or problem solution to make your ideas concrete, to learn whether they work and to discover the technical limitations or possibilities.
Start by determining what you want to learn from your prototype. Determine which kind of prototype suits your needs best: for example, you can create a paper or electronic prototype of your UI, a proof of concept or a proof of principle.
- A willingness to tackle the riskiest and difficult parts first.
- The ability to ‘kill your darlings’ if the feedback or findings are negative.
- A clear view of what you would like to learn from your prototype.
Prototypes can be used to talk about your ideas with your client, but can also be used to test how well a technology can be applied in your situation, before you fully plunge into it. Some developers create many throw-away prototypes to find a novel solution direction; this is called ‘thinkering’.