Prototypes are trial versions of a website that are gradually refined through an iterative process to become closer to the final version. Initial prototypes or ‘mockups’ may simply be paper prototypes or storyboards, perhaps of a ‘wireframe’ or screen layout. These may then be extended to include some visuals of key static pages using tool such as Adobe Photoshop. Finally, working prototypes will be produced as HTML code is developed. The idea is that the design agency or development team and the marketing staff who commissioned the work can review and comment on prototypes, and changes can then be made to the site to incorporate these comments. Prototyping should result in more effective final site which can be developed more rapidly than a more traditional approach with a long period of requirements determination. Each iteration of the prototype typically passes through these stages:
Understanding the requirements of the audience of the site and the requirements of the business, defined by business and marketing strategy (and comments inputs from previous prototypes).
Specifying different features of the site that will fulfill the requirements of the users and the business as identified during analysis.
The creation of the web pages and the dynamic content of the website.
Test and review
Structured checks are conducted to ensure that different aspects of the site meet the original requirements and work directly.
Chaffey, D. and Ellis-Chadwick, F., 2012. Digital marketing: strategy, implementation and practice (Vol. 5). Harlow: Pearson.