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Prototype Model in Software Engineering
Updated on 26th May, 23 90 Views

The software prototyping model has gained high popularity as it helps in identifying and understanding customer requirements quickly. This process helps discover user requirements at a very early stage. It also helps software engineers and developers to understand what is expected from the product that is under development.

Let us discover more about prototype models. The following are the different aspects of prototyping that we will cover in this blog.

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What is Prototyping?

Prototyping is the process of creating a preliminary version of a product, such as a website, software application, or physical object, to test and refine its design, functionality, and other aspects before producing the final version. It helps to evaluate and validate design concepts and make changes early in the development cycle, saving time and resources.

Software prototyping is the process of creating software application prototypes that demonstrate the features of the product but may lack the exact logic of the finished product.

What is Prototyping?

Software prototypes are fully functioning versions of the program. The software publisher tests the product using a prototype, determines whether it is working as intended, and makes any necessary improvements. Devoting more resources, including time and money, to develop the prototype, also enables the manufacturer to have a concept of what the final product will look like.

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What is Prototyping Model?

A prototype model is a draft or an early iteration of the finished product. A prototype becomes a rudimentary representation of the finished system when compared to the actual software. A prototype operates inadequately, is unreliable, and has limited functional capabilities. The prototype concept is helpful when defined project requirements are not available.

The prototype is used as a version on which a lot of testing and tweaking is done.  The procedure is repeated until a flawless product, that can be produced as a final product, is acquired. With this method, consumers can examine and approve developer ideas before they are put into practice. It is helpful for experimentation.

The prototype model has two dimensions: Vertical and Horizontal.

It’s time to have a look at both of them and know how they are different from each other.

Vertical PrototypeHorizontal Prototype
It is a thorough illustration of a particular product function or subsystem.It depicts the product’s user interface and provides a larger picture of the overall system.
It is concerned with internal functions.It is not concerned with internal functions.
It serves a deeper technical understanding of the system’s functionality.It is useful for gathering information about the user interface and system needs.

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Types of Prototyping Models

There are 4 types of prototyping models-

  1. Evolutionary Prototype
  2. Rapid Throwaway Prototype
  3. Extreme Prototype
  4. Incremental Prototype
Types of Prototype Models

Evolutionary Prototype

In an evolutionary prototype, a system or product is built via several iterations, with each iteration building on the one before it to enhance and improve the design. The objective is to provide a final design that satisfies the expectations and requirements of the intended audience.

This method can be used for a wide variety of projects in various industries, but it is frequently utilized in software development and engineering.

Rapid Throwaway Prototype

Rapid throwaway prototyping is a design method where a primitive prototype is constructed rapidly with the intention of testing and analyzing ideas or concepts. Fast iteration and understanding are prioritized over producing a finished product. Rather than devoting time and money to a final product, the aim is to swiftly pinpoint issues, get input, and make design adjustments. This strategy is often used in the design of products, software, and user experiences.

Extreme Prototype

Extreme prototyping is a design process in which a highly detailed and functional prototype is created to resemble the final product as closely as possible. The focus is on creating a prototype that closely represents the end product in terms of functionality, performance, and user experience.

The goal is to validate the design and gather feedback from users, stakeholders, and technical experts before the final product is developed. This approach is often used in software development, product design, and engineering, and can be a valuable tool for reducing the risks and costs associated with developing a new product or system.

Incremental Prototype

Incremental prototyping is a design process in which a product or system is developed in stages, with each stage building upon the previous one to add new features or capabilities. The focus is on delivering a working product or system as quickly as possible, and then iteratively improving it based on feedback from users and stakeholders. The goal is to create a final product that meets the requirements and expectations of the end user while reducing the risks and costs associated with developing a new product or system. This approach is often used in software development, product design, and engineering.

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Prototyping Model Phases

The following phases are included in the prototype model. Let’s go over the steps in detail.

  1. Concept Development
  2. Initial Design
  3. Detailed Design
  4. Testing and Evaluation
  5. Refinement
  6. Final Prototype

Concept Development

This is the first phase where the idea is formed and brainstorming is done to gather initial thoughts and requirements.

Initial Design

The initial design is created based on the concept. This design is then evaluated to see if it meets the requirements and specifications.

Detailed Design

The detailed design is created after the initial design has been approved. The detailed design includes all the specifications, features, and functions of the final product.

Testing and Evaluation

In this phase, the prototype is tested to see if it meets the requirements and specifications. This is done by evaluating its functionality, performance, and reliability.


Based on the results of the testing and evaluation phase, the prototype is refined and improvements are made.

Final Prototype

After the refinement phase, the final prototype is created. This prototype is then tested and evaluated to ensure that it meets all the requirements before it is mass-produced.

Advantages of Prototype Model

Prototying offers a range of benefits, including:

Early Feedback

Prototyping allows early user feedback, which can help improve the final product.

Faster Development

Prototyping enables faster development and iteration of ideas, allowing for a quicker time to market.

Improved Communication

Prototyping helps improve communication between stakeholders, such as designers, developers, and customers.

Reduced Costs

Prototyping helps reduce the cost of development by identifying and fixing problems early on, before the final product is produced.

Better User Experience

Prototyping enables designers and developers to create a better user experience by testing and refining the product with users.

Increased Confidence

Prototyping allows stakeholders to see a tangible representation of the product, increasing their confidence in the project and reducing uncertainty.

Risk Management

Prototyping helps manage risk by identifying potential problems early and allowing for iterative design and development.

Improved Quality

Prototyping leads to a better-quality product, as problems can be identified and fixed before mass production begins.

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Disadvantages of Prototype Model

Here are the disadvantages of making a prototype model or prototyping:


Prototyping can be time-consuming, as it requires additional design and testing steps.


Prototyping requires resources such as manpower, materials, and technology, which can add to the cost of the project.

Limited Functionality

Prototypes may have limited functionality, as they are usually created for demonstration purposes and may not include all the features of the final product.

Potential for Miscommunication

Prototyping can lead to miscommunication if stakeholders have different interpretations of the prototype.

Resistance to Change

Prototyping can sometimes lead to resistance to change, as stakeholders may become attached to the prototype and resist making changes.


Prototyping can be complex, especially if the prototype involves multiple components or technologies.

Limited Testing

Prototyping is limited in terms of the level of testing that can be performed, as prototypes may not be suitable for all types of testing.


Prototyping requires maintenance, as prototypes need to be updated and modified as the project progresses.


Manufacturing depends heavily on the prototype phase. Before a product can be mass-produced, its dimensions, how it will be manufactured, its individual components, and how consumers (customers) will engage with it should be understood. Prototyping has proved to be really beneficial.

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