Rapid prototyping is an intensive process of collecting information on requirements and on the adequacy and functionality of fairly new product designs. Model prototyping is an important data resource during the different stages of product development. Model prototyping makes use of various kinds of rapid prototyping techniques to provide the right model types used for different testing procedures. Such techniques may require the use of requirements animation, incremental, and evolutionary prototyping.
1. Requirements Animation- is the method used mainly to demonstrate functionality in test cases that can be easily assessed by users. Software tools are used to produce representational prototype models that are built using animation packages as well as screen painters.
2. Incremental prototyping- enables the development of large prototype system models installed in phases in order to avoid delays between product specification and its final delivery into the consumer market. Once the customer and supplier have agreed on certain core features, the installation of a skeleton system is applied as soon as possible. Important requirements can be checked out as the model is being used, enabling changes to core features while in operation with extra and optional features can be added later.
3. Evolutionary prototyping- considered as the most integral form of prototyping. It acts as a compromise between production methods and with that of model prototyping. Employing this technique, a model prototype is initially constructed that is then evaluated as it evolves continually and becomes a highly improved end product. Many designers believe that more acceptable systems would result if evolutionary prototyping were interconnected with periods of requirements animation or rapid prototyping. Here the tools are the actual facilities resources where the final system will be implemented.
The use of different model prototyping techniques can help do away with the uncertainties about how well a final design may be able to fit into the end user’s needs. The different model prototyping techniques help product designers make the necessary decisions by obtaining information from initial test users about the effective functionality of a certain product prototype.
Model prototyping can also be an effective aid in determining how effective and ideal the features and the overall design can be for proposed users. Model prototyping and the subsequent testing procedures can provide useful representation information that can reveal possible design flaws, effective features as well as useless functions that can either be corrected, enhanced or done away with on the next stages of product development.