Design and Prototype Development Process. Ins and Outs a Product Owner Should Know About

Design and Prototype Development Process. Ins and Outs a Product Owner Should Know About

If you decide to build an app from scratch, it’s better to break up the entire process to several product development stages. Each step should ensure a stable final release of your product. In this article, we'll discuss the role of prototype in product development and the key stages of prototyping. We'll also show how Apiko developers make prototypes for our clients.

What is prototype development?

Prototype is an early version of the product that is made to test functionality and usability before launch. Prototypes show the product owner whether the idea has the potential to satisfy user needs and succeed on the market.


Prototypes are simply draft products which allow you to test and revise UX and UI design before investing into full-scale development. They are used to experiment with design and features, conduct user research, and gather feedback from potential customers.

Prototype development is a standard part of the software development process that ensures that the end product will be functional, usable, and well-adjusted to customer needs. 

“They were very clear and concise about project deliverables, sprints and expected delivery timelines against the resources available.”
Jorden Beatty
Product Manager, DASH

Stages of design and prototype development

Here are stages of the prototype development process that will help you create functional prototypes and launch a successful product.  

Define your market niche and analyze competitors

Consider this as a start of your app building adventure. Dig in the industry you’re dealing with or going to engage your project in. This step includes answering how to create a strong value proposition for your product question and figuring out who your potential customers will be.

Try to figure out and build the list of typical and non-typical problems your customers face. Then, do the research on where lies the root of certain issue/or issues, the reason behind these problems. Brainstorm with your team how you can solve each of the particular problem (based on priority) of your customer.

To get slightly closer to your user’s needs and pains, try to reflect on your buyer persona portraits, what kind of industry they deal with, what their preferences are, what their possible expectations from utilizing your services. Then you’ll need to analyze your competitors and decide what makes you stand out of the crowd and unique.

Bonus: Read about how to do a market analysis on the example of on-demand home services marketplace.

Figure out the app's functionality

After you’re done with the previous prototype stage, try to brainstorm the working mechanism behind your product. Decide upon the app’s business model and the way it’s going to supply users with its major functionality in a simple way. The most crucial part at this stage is to sketch out the efficient functionality model. 

Start the prototype development

When you have figured out the product requirements and key features, you are ready to start the prototyping process. Prototyping in product development carries an important role in the entire product creation process. It allows you to project the app’s idea, test it, and see where else you can use your ideas and efforts. 

Your first prototype might consist of a series of digital drawings made by professional designers. These first prototypes are simple and quick designs which allow you to take a glimpse on how the future product will look like and make fast changes. 

Prototype Development Initial Stage

Create a functional prototype

When you're done with the previous phases of prototyping, it's time to create a functional prototype. A functional prototype is a working model of a product. Depending on the requirements of the prototype project, the you may include only some or all features of the product. This type of the prototype shows you how the main components and features work together, and allows you to gather feedback from investors or potential users.  

Create a prototype for your digital product

Do prototype testing

At this stage of prototype product development, you can perform various kinds of tests. If you decide to release the beta version of your product and/or hire a skillful quality assurance team, you will be able to conduct A/B testing and see if your product is competitive enough in its niche. 

You may test the following aspects of the design: 

  • Layout
  • Hierarchy of information architecture
  • User paths
  • Specific interactions and actions
  • UI components like drop-down menus
  • Overall performance of the design

example of prototype in app development

Iterate if needed

If there’s an improvement to do or feature to add, return to the prototyping phase and upgrade your app. Then, again, allow your target audience to test the functionality once again. The best way to avoid dissatisfaction is to let your potential customers use the app before launch and take their feedback into account.

Prepare for the release

When you're done with the prototype development process and ready to release the final version of the product, keep in mind the following recommendations:

  • Make sure you’ve fixed bugs, noticed in the beta-version release, if you did such type of release, of course.

  • List the products on AppStore and Google Play if these are mobile apps. If you’re about to lead an active marketing campaign for your mobile product, it’s recommended to create a website for your project and spread the word about it across any relevant channel.

These are the prototyping steps to pave through in order to create a full-fledged, self-sufficient product. The role of prototype in product development is crucial for considering the points of view of your customers and trying out new ideas.

Let’s keep in touch

Want to learn more about prototype development? Start your digital transformation journey with a professional IT consultation. 
Michel Rokosh

Prototype development process at Apiko

At Apiko, we emphasize collaboration with our clients during the preliminary development stage.

  • Defining project requirements. We get introduced to the issue our customer is trying to solve and the industry our client is engaged into. Is it B2B, B2C or C2C model you’re dealing with? The specifics of your business are of great importance here, since the more details you provide us with, the more recommendations and services we can offer you.
  • Defining a tech stack. The next thing is we together do the research and agree upon a tech solution for a certain feature or the entire solution. Our developers can use JS technologies, as Node.js, Express.js, React Native and others. At this stage, our customer and us decide which features are must-have for their business and we estimate the durability and price of the app development. We try to advise you on the technology choice, which can help you create a strong value proposition.

  • Wireframing and prototyping. We create clickable wireframes and design prototypes of your product to take a look at it in real life. If we agree upon wireframes we can proceed with the design part. We try to cooperate the most with our customers at this stage. It’s a part where a lot of changes related to the technology choice and/or business point of view can be made. If we reach the agreement on the preliminary development stage, we can move to the product development itself. 

  • Product development. During the product development, we make sure that your app meets all the project requirements, legal regulations, and industry standards for user experience, testing, and quality assurance. We provide our clients with user acceptance testing, software quality assurance, and continuous support with technical documentation. 

Design and Prototype Development Process Ins and Outs a Product Owner Should Know About 5

Our collaboration model ensures tight cooperation between UI/UX, marketing and development departments.

To sum up

If the project is curated wisely from the very beginning, there’re no doubts that it can turn to be a true phenomenon on the market. At Apiko, we’re always open to discuss prototyping in product development and advise you on your digital solution.