A Complete Guide to Software Prototyping
Published at November 14, 2022

Think of yourself as someone who is creating a new app. It will take a lot of effort and time to complete this hard project. However, the software has finally been completed after months of intense development by designers, engineers, and UX specialists. You believe the finished product is excellent.

But somehow the product you've worked so hard to create gets harshly criticised after it hits the market. Users detest it and aren't shy about voicing their complaints.

So, that's why software prototyping is crucial when building an app. Software prototyping is becoming increasingly popular as a software development strategy since it allows for an early understanding of customer requirements.

Before going anywhere, let's dig deeper into software prototyping, its definition, its importance, its advantages and disadvantages, its models, the process of software prototyping, and how it enhances your business.

What is Software Prototyping?

According to Stackify, the simple definition of a software prototype is a base product that closely resembles the appearance and functionality of its final product. It's a working model of software with limited functionality.

Software prototyping is the process of developing limited functionality versions of a digital product. In order to try out specific features, developers and designers create a prototype of the finished product. Then after that, they also need to gather feedback before releasing the product to the public.

In a nutshell, a software prototype is a near imitation of the final software that may or may not follow the same logic as the final product. The best part about a software prototype is that modifications may be made in the middle of the development process rather than once it’s complete.

However, the software prototype must be comprehensive enough to provide product demonstrations to customers, investors, and clients. So, entrepreneurs who want to launch a new product or business must really take into account how much it costs and when is the right time to build an application.

Why do you need a Software Prototype?

You may believe that your project is perfect and that nothing needs to be changed. Even with this level of assurance, it is critical to put it to the test, and software prototyping can help with this process. So, let's get into it.

Adapted from SoftwareHut, there are three reasons why you need a software prototype.

1. To give clients an idea of the product

For starters, it gives the client an idea of what the final product might look like. As stated before, a software prototype is a basic representation of the final product, yet even this unfinished version can considerably assist the development process.

2. A guarantee of the final product

The software prototype serves as a guarantee of the final product to the clients. They do not have to buy a pig in a poke. Even if the idea is complex and difficult to grasp, a prototype makes it easier to understand.

3. Better development possibilities

Furthermore, a software prototype allows you to eliminate unneeded functionality and leave only the most crucial ones in the design and development stage. Allowing the developers and designers to build an even greater final product.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Software Prototyping

Like any other app development process, there will always be advantages and disadvantages. TatvaSoft describes some of the advantages and disadvantages of software prototyping as follows:

Advantages of Software Prototyping

  1. Risk reduction
    One of the most important advantages of software prototyping is the reduction of risks. If developers wish to avoid the scenario and limit the chance of software failure, they must use software prototyping. Software prototyping enables developers to provide the best solution based on the client's feedback.
  2. Provide visual overview
    The best feature of software prototyping is a visual overview. It allows developers to see immediate outcomes. So that the team can make sure the application flows smoothly & perfectly when clicking up buttons. Another thing is that clients can also get an easy-to-understand overview of the system built by the team and that's what matters.
  3. Early errors detection
    With software prototyping, developers can easily understand the errors in the system. Software prototyping helps developers to detect errors in the product concept. Due to early detection, complex issues can be solved efficiently and fast.
  4. Improved client engagement
    The client can participate in the creation of the system through software prototyping. This type of collaboration can benefit both parties. The client is welcome to offer feedback, and the development team is completely aware of the client's needs and insights.

Disadvantages of Software Prototyping

  1. Poor research
    When developers only focus on the prototype, it can distract them from analysing the entire project. Poor research can miss better solutions, cause the conversion of limited prototypes, and incomplete specifications.
  2. Wrong perception of the client
    Some clients may believe that the prototype is the final product. They assume that the final product is just a polish away. As a result, clients incorrectly assume the prototype to be an accurate model.
  3. The developer’s misunderstanding of the objectives
    Both clients and developers must be on the same page for every software development project to be successful. It means that when clients suggest a list of all required features, the developers need to build it and show it in the prototype. If failed, there might be a misunderstanding going on the developers' side.
  4. Delayed development time
    Prototypes are built so that the development process can be finished fast. If the developers spend a long time designing a complex prototype, the project may be delayed, which can be costly.

Different types of Prototyping Models

According to Tutorials Point, there are four types of prototyping models as explained below.

1. Rapid Prototyping

This prototyping model can also be called throwaway or close-ended prototyping. To build a prototype, this prototyping model requires relatively little effort and minimal requirement analysis. The prototype is removed after the actual requirements are recognised, and the actual system is built with a much clear understanding of user requirements.

2. Evolutionary Prototyping

Building functional prototypes with basic features is the core of evolutionary prototyping, often known as breadboard prototyping. The developed prototype serves as the foundation for future prototypes, upon which the full system is built. By applying evolutionary prototyping, the prototype includes well-understood requirements which are added as understood.

3. Incremental Prototyping

It is a type of prototyping that allows the ultimate product to be divided into smaller prototypes. Then the smaller prototypes are subsequently developed independently. This means that various prototypes can be merged into a single piece of software. The use of this approach is to shorten the time between the application development team and the user.

4. Extreme Prototyping

This technique of prototyping is used specifically in web development and is divided into three stages, the second of which is the most important. There are various layers which are crucial to these stages. The layers are the presentation layer and service layers. The presentation layer is usually called the user interface. Then the service layers consist of communication, business logic, and authorisation.

The three stages of Extreme Prototyping:

  1. Create a presentation layer using HTML build
  2. Connect the prototype to the service layers to make a fully functional model
  3. Implement the service layers to complete the production

The process of Software Prototyping

Acclimated to Educative, there are 4 processes of software prototyping as we discuss below.

Source: Educative

1. The identification of basic requirements

This process includes understanding the basic product requirements in terms of the user interface. In this process, the software publisher needs to decide the features of the software, who the user will be, and what the user will want.

2. The initial prototype development

In this step, the developer will consider the publisher's requirements and begin to construct a model of what the finished software product would look like.

3. The prototype review

After the prototype is completed, it is presented to the customer and other project stakeholders for review. The feedback is collected in an organised way and used to improve the product.

4. The prototype improvement

The final phase in this process is to revise the prototype depending on the customer, publisher, and beta-tester feedback.


Nobody wants a product that isn't useful to the consumers who need it. As a result, software prototyping should be a go-to strategy for your company. You can eliminate risks, save money, and improve the user experience this way.

At VirtualSpirit, we have a team of highly skilled developers and designers that can fulfil all your software development needs. If you need any consultation, book us a call now!

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