What is Prototyping?

Ruben Buijs

Founder & Digital Consultant

Written on Aug 10, 2023

3 minutes

Product Management

Prototyping is a crucial step in the product development process that involves creating a preliminary model or representation of a software application or product. It allows product managers, designers, and developers to visualize and test their ideas, gather feedback, and make necessary improvements before the final product is built.


Prototyping can take various forms depending on the complexity of the product and the stage of the development process. Some common examples include:

  • Wireframes: Simple black and white sketches that outline the basic layout and structure of the product.
  • Mockups: More detailed visual representations that include colors, typography, and basic functionality.
  • Interactive prototypes: Fully interactive and clickable representations that simulate the user experience and allow users to test the product's functionality.


Prototyping holds immense importance in Saas product management for several reasons:

  1. Visualization: Prototyping helps product teams visualize their ideas and concepts. It brings clarity to the design and functionality of the product, making it easier to communicate and align the vision among team members.

  2. User feedback: By creating prototypes, product managers can gather valuable feedback from users and stakeholders early in the development process. This feedback helps identify potential issues, improve usability, and enhance the overall user experience.

  3. Cost and time-saving: Prototyping allows for the identification of design flaws and usability issues before investing significant time and resources into development. By catching and resolving problems early on, it saves both time and money in the long run.

  4. Iterative improvement: Through prototyping, product managers can iterate on their ideas and make incremental improvements based on user feedback and testing. This iterative approach ensures that the final product meets user expectations and achieves its goals effectively.

How to Use Prototyping

Here are some steps to effectively use prototyping in Saas product management:

  1. Identify goals: Clearly define the goals and objectives of your product. Determine what features and functionalities are essential to achieve those goals.

  2. Choose prototyping tools: Select the appropriate prototyping tools based on your requirements and skill level. There are numerous tools available, ranging from simple drag-and-drop interfaces to more advanced design software.

  3. Create low-fidelity prototypes: Start with low-fidelity prototypes such as wireframes or sketches to quickly explore different design ideas and gather initial feedback. Focus on the overall layout, structure, and user flow.

  4. Refine with high-fidelity prototypes: Once you have a clearer direction, create high-fidelity prototypes with more refined visuals and interactive elements. This will help users better understand the product's look and feel.

  5. Test and gather feedback: Share the prototypes with stakeholders, users, and team members for testing and feedback. Pay attention to their suggestions, pain points, and preferences to identify areas for improvement.

  6. Iterate and improve: Based on the feedback received, iterate on the prototypes, making necessary adjustments and refinements. Repeat the testing and feedback process until you achieve a satisfactory design and user experience.

Useful Tips for Prototyping

  • Keep it simple: Start with basic prototypes and gradually add complexity as you progress. This allows for faster iteration and avoids getting caught up in unnecessary details too early.

  • Focus on user experience: Pay close attention to the user experience when creating prototypes. Prioritize usability, intuitive navigation, and clear communication of information.

  • Test on real devices: Test your prototypes on actual devices to ensure they work well across different screen sizes and resolutions. This helps identify any potential responsiveness or compatibility issues.

  • Collaborate and gather feedback: Involve team members, stakeholders, and potential users throughout the prototyping process. Their insights and feedback will help you refine your designs and make informed decisions.


Prototyping is the process of creating a preliminary model or sample of a product to test and validate its design and functionality.
Prototyping is important in SaaS product management as it allows teams to visualize and iterate on product ideas, gather feedback from stakeholders, and minimize the risk of building a product that does not meet user needs.
There are various types of prototyping, including low-fidelity prototyping (sketches, wireframes), high-fidelity prototyping (interactive mockups, clickable prototypes), and functional prototyping (working prototypes with basic functionality).
Prototyping helps in user testing by providing a tangible representation of the product's features and interactions. Users can interact with the prototype to provide feedback and uncover usability issues before investing resources in development.
There are various prototyping tools available, such as Figma, Sketch, InVision, Adobe XD, and Axure RP. These tools provide features to create and share interactive prototypes with stakeholders.
Rapid prototyping allows for quick iterations and frequent feedback loops, enabling faster validation of ideas and reducing time-to-market. It also helps in identifying design flaws and usability issues early in the development process.
Prototyping promotes collaboration between teams by providing a visual representation of the product, allowing designers, developers, and stakeholders to align their understanding and make informed decisions based on a shared vision.
Low-fidelity prototyping involves creating rough sketches or wireframes to explore and communicate ideas. High-fidelity prototyping, on the other hand, involves creating interactive and visually polished prototypes that closely resemble the final product.
The purpose of usability testing in prototyping is to evaluate the product's ease of use and identify any usability issues. It helps in improving the user experience by incorporating user feedback and making necessary design iterations.
Prototyping saves development costs by allowing teams to identify and address design flaws, usability issues, and functionality gaps early in the process. It minimizes the risk of building a product that requires significant rework or fails to meet user expectations.

Article by

Ruben Buijs

Ruben is the founder of ProductLift. I employ a decade of consulting experience from Ernst & Young to maximize clients' ROI on new Tech developments. I now help companies build better products

Table of contents

  1. Examples
  2. Importance
  3. How to Use Prototyping
  4. Useful Tips for Prototyping
  5. Related Terms

Join 2.341 product teams building better with user feedback

Grow products by listening and building the right features

Start free

The faster, easier way to capture user feedback at scale

Join over 2.341 product managers and see how easy it is to build products people love.

starstarstarstarstar 4.9 / 5 on Capterra and G2