What is a prototype in UX design?

A prototype is a working model of a user interface that simulates the functionality and behavior of the final product. A prototype is more interactive than a mockup and is used to test and evaluate the usability and user experience of a product before it is built.

Designers create prototypes using various tools, such as Adobe XD, Sketch, Figma, and InVision.

Prototypes can be used at various stages of the design process, from early conceptual designs to more detailed wireframes and final designs. They help UX designers test the usability and user experience of a product and gather feedback from users, stakeholders, and design teams.

What are the different types of prototypes?

Depending on the level of detail and interactivity, there are 3 types of prototypes:

  • Low-fidelity prototypes. Simple and static, they are used to represent the layout and structure of the interface and can even be created with paper and pen.
  • Medium-fidelity prototypes don't bear a high resemblance to the real app like high-fidelity prototypes, but can also be quite detailed and interactive.
  • High-fidelity prototypes are the most detailed and interactive of all types, simulating the look and feel of the final product.

How are prototypes used in UX design?

Prototypes can be used at various stages of the design process and help a UX team fulfill the following goals:

  • Generate, test, and verify various design ideas and assumptions with users
  • Communicate design decisions to stakeholders
  • Improve usability and functionality issues before handing off designs to developers
  • Gather feedback and improve ideas to prevent risks

How to improve your prototyping skills?

Prototyping skills are best improved through practice. Redesign existing websites or applications that contain usability flaws, create your own design projects, volunteer for non-commercial organizations that lack design specialists, and explore design tutorials and workshops. Make sure to gather feedback on your work from your colleagues, design peers, or a mentor. You can post your designs on Dribbble or Behance and learn from the feedback other users leave for you.

Iterate, test, and improve. Your mistakes will help you master prototyping skills so you can create helpful and intuitive user experiences.

To begin with, take our Mobile Prototyping lesson to learn the basics. This will enable you to understand the value of prototyping and find out when it’s the best time to introduce prototypes into the design process.

Mobile Design

Explore the best practices of mobile prototyping

Check out our UX Research course and start improving your UX design skills today.

Start for free