How to define a presentation prototype?


In previous articles, we discussed what visual prototypes and proof-of-concept prototypes, for instance, can consist of a rough sketch which specifies the physical attributes of the object we are intending to create. On one hand, proof-of- concept prototypes are the partial physical implementation of an idea which generally lacks full functionality but proves that an idea is feasible. On the other hand, a presentation prototype is supposed to be very close to what the final product we are trying to develop will look and work like.

A presentation prototype is generally used to provide answers on what our product might look like, what materials will be used for its construction, the difficulties associated to its production, its functions and limitations, etc. It can serve to give a proper introduction to the rest of the world. It goes beyond the reach of proof-of- concept prototypes by providing full functionality and a closer look to the finished product. It is almost what the pre-production prototype looks like (the pre-production prototype being a more developed presentation prototype which is just a step away from mass production).

Another great thing about presentation prototypes is that as they are fully functional, they can be used for specialized testing of each of its components and functions to make sure it complies with all security standards. Skipping the testing phase of a product can have devastating consequences. Take Samsung’s Note 7 as a horrible example of skipping the testing phase of its battery… If the proper testing had been done, the risk of exploding batteries would have surely decreased to zero. In fact, Samsung has had a lot of issues with its products due to a terrible habit of skipping testing phases.

There are other advantages to presentation prototypes. They also allow us to check for quality control standards such as the ISO (which are different from security standards). Quality control standards focus on the overall quality of the product:

  • Is it durable?

  • How long will it last under certain conditions?

On top of that, presentation prototypes can be restructured if they are deemed malfunctioning, lacking features, or with design flaws.

Regarding the disadvantages of presentation prototypes, we could say that they are more costly than visual prototypes, for instance. Also, they take more time to be done and desired results are not always achieved in the first attempt of creating a fully functional presentation prototype. However, the consequences of skipping this phase (as we already discussed) can have a huge negative impact on the implementation of the final product.

All prototyping phases are important. Without prototyping, it is very difficult to make a good idea become something real. Before we learn, we all have to learn to crawl first.