Learn Why and When Website prototyping is important

A Simple Explanation to Website Prototyping

A website prototype is an initial design of a website. Developers, testers, and users can interact with it. Developers often create these prototypes to gather feedback from stakeholders or clients. They create one during the first few phases of the development cycle to determine the final product’s design.

To put it simply, a prototype is a demo or mockup of a project. It can be a simple drawing on paper, a PowerPoint presentation, or a working website. The developer chooses the prototype type or material depending on what kind of feedback he wants to receive.

Checkout  Teresa Torres on Driving Success through Rapid Prototyping

For example, developers create a paper sketch prototype to present a basic skeleton of the project. Paper sketches often represent the basic location of elements, site maps, and site layout. Developers use PowerPoint presentations to show website aesthetics, theme, and a more detailed layout. Lastly, developers use an interactive website to deliver the experience of browsing the project.


Aside from gathering feedback, developers use prototypes because of other multiple reasons. First, they create prototypes to establish an agreement with the client or stakeholder regarding the potential appearance and make of the end product. It is similar to an architect showing a design to a client.

Prototypes display the interpretation of the developer of the client’s request. For example, if the client requests an e-commerce website, the developer creates a website prototype to make sure that his idea of an e-commerce site is similar to the client’s. It is to make sure that they are on the same page.

It is also to prevent a situation like this:

  • The client requests for a social media website.
  • The developer spends seven days to create a website similar to Facebook.
  • The client’s idea of a social media website is Friendster.
  • The developer delivers the project.
  • The client rejects the project.
  • The developer starts over and delivers the final product after another seven days.

Project duration: 14 days

Such situation could have been resolved by a prototype:

  • The client requests for a social media website.
  • The developer spends a day to create a prototype similar to Facebook.
  • The client’s idea of a social media website is Friendster.
  • The developer presents the prototype.
  • The client rejects the prototype.
  • Both discuss the project in detail.
  • The developer starts on the project and delivers the final product after seven days.

Project duration: 8 days


The biggest disadvantage of prototyping is the use of additional time to plan and that additional time is longer than the actual time used in project development. The developer can easily mitigate this disadvantage.

The developer can avoid the need to use an app prototype if he can foresee that he has a complete understanding of the client’s request. Developer can also avoid it by not prototyping if the actual project only requires a short amount of time for development. He/She can prevent it by using another project development style as well.

And finally,  can avoid such disadvantage if he uses a tool that can shorten the amount of time he needs to create a prototype.