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A simulation, demo or mock-up of a site, product or service that you can use to test your ideas before beginning to build.


  • The ability to quickly communicate a design concept and to test its desirability, feasibility and viability before investing time in building it.

Use when

  • You need to conduct user testing.
  • You need to attract funding or approval.

Prototypes are not

  • Design concepts – Design concepts are ideas written down on paper.
  • Prototypes are tangible creations intended to be used for testing and research. 


Prototyping is critical in the human-centred design process. Without prototypes, it’s difficult to assess whether your proposed design concept meets user needs. Only prototype to the level of fidelity required to answer your testing questions.

Key terminology

Fidelity: Low-fidelity prototypes are rougher, faster versions of the design concept than high-fidelity prototypes.