Everything you need to know about prototyping

A UI/ UX prototype is an interactive model or simulation of a product or application that is developed to visualise and test the user experience (UX) and user interface (UI). It is a way to test the functionality, workflow, usability and design of a product or application before it goes into production. UI-UX prototypes can be created on paper, digitally or as a physical model and provide developers and designers with the opportunity to get user feedback and optimise the design based on user requirements before it is actually implemented.
A prototype can test the product’s flows, interactions, animations, usability, features and functions, among other things.


Why should designers create prototypes?

Prototypes help test the usability and feasibility of the design, make it easier to hand over the design to developers, and allow more problems to be explored to learn what is missing and what works well. Prototyping can also change the design culture.



What are the different types of prototypes?

A prototype is a preliminary sample or simulation of a product or application that is developed to visualise and test the user experience and interface. It is important to note that a prototype is not the final product and changes and adjustments can be made before the final product is developed.

Depending on the level of fidelity (fidelity) of a prototype, it can be divided into different categories. There are three types of prototypes: Low Fidelity, Mid Fidelity and High Fidelity.
A low fidelity prototype, for example, can be created on paper or digitally and provides a rough idea of the product or application.
A mid fidelity prototype, on the other hand, can already be designed in a UI design tool such as Figma or Adobe XD and already shows a more detailed picture of the product or application, including the layout and functionality.
A high fidelity prototype, on the other hand, is already closer to the final product and can already be programmed, for example with HTML, CSS or specialised tools such as WordPress, Webflow, After Effects or Protopie. This type of prototype already provides a very accurate simulation of the final product, including design, interactions and functionality.



Paper Prototype (Low Fidelity)

A paper prototype is the simplest type of prototype, working by hand on paper and using tools such as pencils, coloured pens, erasers and small sticky notes to sketch the product or application.
Paper prototypes are often used in the early stages of a project, e.g. during team brainstorming, as they are easy and quick to create. Due to the low effort and investment, many rough concepts can be created and updated quickly.



  • quick to create, develop and update
  • low effort and low investment
  • no special knowledge or tools required
  • enables quick creation and revision of concepts



  • less detailed or precise than digital prototypes
  • difficulties in demonstrating interactivity
  • not always practical for remote or distributed teams
  • may not reflect the actual size or shape of the final product


Digital Prototype (Mid Fidelity)

A mid-fidelity digital prototype is a type of interactive prototype that is developed with care and a high level of detail to create a practical and interactive experience for clients and businesses.
This type of prototype is used when a solid plan and user flow are already in place in the visual phase and you want to see the designs in action. With a digital mid-fidelity prototype, you can test the functionality and usability of a product before it moves into the development phase.



  • more convincing than paper prototypes
  • easy user interaction
  • better understanding of features, functionalities, UX and business



  • creation is more time-consuming
  • tool knowledge is required (Figma, Xd)


Native Prototypes (High Fidelity)

A native prototype is a coding model for applications or websites that is developed using a specific technology. This can be done either by coding in a programming language such as Swift for iOS or by using coding-free technologies such as Webflow.
For example, a high-fidelity prototype developed for iOS can be created in Xcode using Swift, while Html, Css/ Webflow/Wordpress or other programs such as Andriod Studio can be used to create prototypes for other platforms. By creating native prototypes, you can ensure that your app or website is optimised for the specific platform and that the user experience is improved.


  • high realism
  • good for assessing usability
  • ability to check for device compatibility



  • more time-consuming than digital prototypes
  • requires programming skills
  • different prototypes needed for different platforms
  • cooperation with many developers necessary

Prototypes can be classified in terms of their fidelity. Each prototype is suitable for different use cases and should be selected accordingly. Choosing the right prototype can help identify problems early, gather user feedback and optimise the design before it goes into production.

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