HomeBlogAgilePrototyping in Design Thinking: Complete Guide with Examples

Prototyping in Design Thinking: Complete Guide with Examples

17th May, 2024
view count loader
Read it in
9 Mins
In this article
    Prototyping in Design Thinking: Complete Guide with Examples

    One of the most effective and impactful skills a designer can acquire is prototyping, which includes anything from making straightforward wireframes to testing completely functional mockups. It might be revolutionary to incorporate prototyping into your process of product development. It can enhance the experience, strengthen the bond between the team members, and save time.

    However, building a prototype in design thinking is not sufficient. We also need to comprehend the steps used in creating the first iterations of a product. The processes of prototyping and testing are sometimes combined into one step, although they should be carried out as two separate steps in a Design Thinking course.

    What Is Prototyping?

    Creating a physical version of a concept or experiment is a process known as prototyping. A prototype is basically a mockup of the solution that we want to create. Examples of prototypes are a storyboard, a wall of stick-on notes, a role-playing game, a space, an object, or an interface. Your prototype's resolution should reflect how far along your project is.

    You may learn rapidly and consider several possibilities by keeping your prototypes simple and concise during early investigations. The ability of the design team, the user, and others to experience and interact with a prototype is crucial to its success. Your ability to empathize more and come up with clever solutions can be improved by what you learn from those interactions.

    What is Prototyping in Design Thinking?

    Prototyping is a crucial phase in the Design Thinking process. Designers build an almost-working version or mockup of the product, known as a prototype, and test it with potential customers and stakeholders to see whether it truly answers the problems of its consumers.

    The purpose of creating the design thinking prototype is to check the viability of the existing design and possibly look into what potential customers may have to say about the product. It permits appropriate testing and investigation of design ideas before excessive resources are employed.

    Why do We Need to Prototype in Design Process?

    One of the phases before releasing the finished product is building a prototype. Creating a product prototype has several benefits. Here are a few ideas for why prototyping is essential during the design process.

    • Rapid prototyping design thinking enables its deployment by identifying the elements of an idea that are challenging or impossible to achieve. Making a prototype reveals technical and economic limitations that were not previously known.
    • By analyzing the site's overall navigation, prototypes assist in testing the usability of a website.
    • By gathering feedback from users in the form of reviews, recommendations, and testimonials, prototypes aid in the presentation of ideas and concepts to users in a more tangible way.
    • As it immediately influences the most important aspects of a project, namely the resource, time, and budget, prototypes aid in minimizing risks, identifying covert flaws and functional gaps.
    • Through their ability to entice potential customers to invest in them, prototypes help to simulate the ultimate product. It assists in evaluating the accuracy of a design and locating design flaws ahead of the final stage.
    • Exposure to prototypes helps bring all the concepts together and lets stakeholders view the product from a fresh angle.

    How to Create a Prototype? Tips and Best Practices  

    We now clearly understand prototype design thinking, its importance, and the several sorts of prototypes that can be used during the design process. The only thing left to do is to come up with your own. Here is some advice that will assist you in your journey: 

    Select The Appropriate Prototype  

    Before you start working on a prototype, think about where you are in the design process and the time and resources you have at your disposal. Early on, low-fidelity prototypes make sense, but as you release your product, you should switch to high-fidelity prototypes. 

    Set Up Clear Objectives  

    Know exactly what you expect your prototype to do before you begin. What, in other words, are you hoping to learn from testing your prototype? Always keep your research questions in mind as you concentrate on user demands. 

    Use Proper Equipment  

    If you're new to digital prototyping, experiment with some of the most well-liked tools available. Before you begin prototyping, choose a tool with the required features and capabilities and become familiar with its user interface. This will simplify the prototyping procedure. 

    Make a Move  

    Prototyping is a key component of design thinking. Therefore do it whenever you need to. As long as you keep in mind that the Design Thinking process isn't exactly linear, you can quickly create a prototype. 

    prototype model working process

    How Does Prototyping Work? 

    Beginning a project with a prototype can help you establish your general goals and, more importantly, can help you figure out what doesn't work right away. Below are three phases of the prototype in design thinking explaining how the prototype works. 

    Action-Orientation Bias  

    Because you will test each assumption in practice rather than by thinking it through conceptually, the analytical study will not be able to take hold. You can further develop or even discard your original notion by employing controlled tests to either validate or reject your assumptions in their actual environment. 

    Finding Out Through Doing  

    The discovery of new insights and the exploration of uncharted possibilities are two of the most crucial components of design thinking. For this reason, the discipline emphasizes education and team-building exercises that boost learning potential. As a result, your team can iterate quickly, changing your test models and bringing you closer to the result. 

    Ingenious Serendipity  

    One would assume that all we need to do is flick a switch to a success mindset, given the way ground-breaking technologies, start-ups, or other novel ideas are promoted to excite and encourage creativity. Prototyping allows you and your team to observe and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of your ideas, learn from customer input, and generate small opportunities for an artistic chance. 

    Types of Prototyping 

    There are two main types of prototyping in design thinking: 

    Low-fidelity Prototyping  

    Low-fidelity prototyping presents the simplest possible structure, visuals, user flows, and layouts so that you can concentrate solely on the core idea without being distracted by any unnecessary UI features. The low-fidelity prototype is frequently the earliest stage of an app or website's design. It is generally created faster and is cost-effective; however, it can offer limited experience or testing by users. 

    High-fidelity Prototyping  

    Prototyping with high fidelity (HFP) shows almost all of the product's aspects, including intricate user interfaces and working pages and elements. This enables you to thoroughly test usability before beginning development to identify any potential problems. This type of prototyping offers a near to real experience to garner meaningful feedback or showcase demo to potential investors or stakeholders. You must consider enrolling for one of the best Agile certifications

    Guidelines for Prototyping 

    To create a prototype, intellectuals must produce physical goods, which may be miniature versions of the intended answer. The following are the top five principles for prototypes: 

    • Start the prototype's construction as soon as possible. Don't put things off. 
    • Spending too much time on a single prototype will be a waste. 
    • The final user must be considered when creating the prototypes. 
    • The prototype must provide the user with an experience rather than just being a useless piece of junk. 
    • Consider open-ended questions that the user might ask you after interacting with the prototype. 

    Stages in Prototyping  

    There are five design thinking prototyping phases, as discussed below, regardless of the required level of fidelity.

    Design Thinking Process

    Define the Goal  

    The developer must create a broad vision for their product at this stage in the prototyping process. This stage could also function as a verbal description and could contain sketches. The creator can decide whether prototyping is necessary or whether they should reevaluate their original plan. 

    Highlight Core Elements  

    Attempting to make the prototype and final product similar is a mistake made by many creators. This is helpful when the prototype is used to convince investors of its value, but it's not required for most other uses. The designer should choose one or two standout aspects of their product to emphasize in their prototype. 


    The longest portion of the process is developing the prototype because the designer must weigh all the available possibilities. Consider using 3D printing, CNC machining, powder bed fusions, mold building, and casting as some common prototyping techniques. The decision will typically be influenced by the available materials, the schedule, and the price. 


    After releasing the initial prototype, the designer will want to assess it, think about updating choices, and look for methods to streamline the procedure as a whole. This can call for a few minor adjustments, or it might mean throwing out the entire initial concept and beginning again at step one. 


    Depending on the goal of the prototype, the presentation phase will change. It can entail producing many models to test with customers, submitting the design for a patent, or showcasing it to potential investors. The presentation phase will assist in gauging interest and directing manufacturing techniques, depending on whether a straightforward small run or larger mass production is required. 

    Elevate your career with our PMP online certification training. Master project management and reach new heights!

    Delve into the most popular Agile Category Courses

    CSM CertificationCSPO CertificationLeading SAFe Certification
    PSM CertificationSAFe Scrum Master CertificationSAFe SPC Certification
    SAFe RTE CertificationSAFe POPM CertificationICP-ACC Certification

    The fundamental concept behind the prototype model is that a throwaway prototype is made to understand the specifications rather than freezing them before designing or coding can be done. Most of the time, prototypes are not fully functional systems and lack many details.

    The objective is to give a system general functionality. Prototyping in design thinking has many benefits, including early error discovery, quicker user input, and a better knowledge of the system being produced for the users. Hence, prototyping is widely used. 

    Benefits of Prototyping in Design Thinking  

    Prototyping lets you enjoy the following benefits: 

    • Give all stakeholders a clear image of the potential benefits, risks, and costs connected with where a prototype might lead by having a solid basis to generate ideas for improvements. 
    • Helps foster a feeling of ownership in all interested parties, encouraging emotional commitment to the final success of the product. 
    • Reduces the number of mistakes that need to be fixed before the product is released to shorten time-to-market. 

    Prototyping In Design Thinking Examples  

    Some of the most common prototype design thinking examples are as follows: 

    • Rough paper prototypes of digital interfaces.
    • Simple sketches
    • Storyboards
    • Role-playing to act out a service giving ideas.


    The use of prototypes is crucial for product teams and designers. To build a fundamentally solid app or website, it's critical to visualize and test ideas early in the design-creation process. This also helps to reduce expenses while constructing the lifelike model you'll have before development.

    If you are looking forward to doing a course in design thinking, then KnowledgeHut Design Thinking training provides you with the necessary knowledge and skills.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    1Why do we use prototypes?

    A prototype is an original version of a product that has been produced to test a theory or procedure. We utilize a prototype to assess a new design to improve precision for users and system analysts. 

    2What does Prototyping help us achieve?

    A prototype's most significant benefit is that it replicates the actual and future products. Before committing any resources required for deployment, it might encourage buyers to buy the product. 

    3How do Feedbacks from Prototypes benefit the Design Thinking Process?

    When comparing the original mockup and the current design, it's simple to see how the customer's input affected the final product, which enables users to complete necessary tasks with the least amount of time and effort. Hence, customer involvement and feedback are crucial to the success of our design process. 

    4When should prototyping be used?

    When the needs for the product are unclear or unpredictable, the prototyping model should be employed. Also, when requirements are shifting quickly, they can be applied.

    5How do I make a prototype?

    Here are four easy steps for making a prototype - 

    • Create your ideas now 
    • Make a simplified version of your idea 
    • Make a realistic prototype 
    • Develop your prototype until it is perfect 

    Lindy Quick

    Blog Author

    Lindy Quick, SPCT, is a dynamic Transformation Architect and Senior Business Agility Consultant with a proven track record of success in driving agile transformations. With expertise in multiple agile frameworks, including SAFe, Scrum, and Kanban, Lindy has led impactful transformations across diverse industries such as manufacturing, defense, insurance/financial, and federal government. Lindy's exceptional communication, leadership, and problem-solving skills have earned her a reputation as a trusted advisor. Currently associated with KnowledgeHut and upGrad, Lindy fosters Lean-Agile principles and mindset through coaching, training, and successful execution of transformations. With a passion for effective value delivery, Lindy is a sought-after expert in the field.

    Share This Article
    Ready to Master the Skills that Drive Your Career?

    Avail your free 1:1 mentorship session.

    Your Message (Optional)

    Upcoming Agile Management Batches & Dates

    NameDateFeeKnow more
    Course advisor icon
    Whatsapp/Chat icon