Prototype may aptly be defined as an original and working model of a new object and it can also be a new form of the existing product. It is designed such that it may serve as a standard to be referred later. Prototype can take a number of different forms such as it can be a very initial form of a brainstormed idea or it may be a full-scale model of the final product. Additionally, in both the cases, the purpose of developing a prototype are same, which is to have a firm understanding about the product and also to weight different alternatives about it (Curtis & Vertelney, 1990).
Classification of Prototype
There are a number of different ways to categorize a prototype. Following are some of the aspects that are considerer while making classification of diverse prototype forms.
Prototype can be categorized based on the features, that is, determining what number of features is likely to have in any particular product.
They can also be classified based on their functionality.
Interaction can also serve as one important parameter, that is, to determine the level of similarity of interaction with the prototype and with the actual product.
In addition to this, a low fidelity prototype is the one which is considered to be comprising on at least one of the parameters discussed above. Quite often, it has been observed that they have somewhat restricted functionality or interaction as compared to the high fidelity prototypes. On the other hand, high fidelity prototypes are the one that are found to be completely fluent in terms of functionality, interactivity, design and features. This type of prototypes is often used in the exploration and in gaining an understanding of the final feel of the actual product (Farnum, 2002)
Usefulness of Prototyping
There are a number of different advantages associated with prototyping. Some of these are briefly discussed in the following lines.
A working prototype of the actual product aims to reduce the risks and production cost that are associated to it. This is due to the reason that by making a prototype it may be estimated as to what are the approached that should do not work out and that are needed to be eliminated while designing the final product.
By making a prototype of the actual product, it may be assured that the technical errors that might come in the designing of the actual problem are reduced efficiently. All the foreseen and as well as unforeseen errors can be minimized and can be eliminated completely.
Quite a many times, it has been observed that the engineers that are involved in the designing of any particular product have a number of different opinion and concerns regarding the workability and efficiency of the product. Through prototyping, various models of the same product can be formed and the efficiency of the resultant models can be compared to choose the best one as the final product (Hix & Hartson, 1993)