Rapid prototyping

In UX, rapid prototyping is a way to quickly create new versions of a design prototype based on continuous feedback.

Updated on July 29th, 2023


Rapid prototyping was originally used in the manufacturing industry to create a 3D model of a product or one of its parts. It aimed to test something before producing the prototype in large quantities.

When translated to UX, this methodology is used to quickly test a working prototype of a digital product.

In practice, rapid prototyping involves creating mockups of a UI to validate within your team and with users. It helps you get a lot of feedback very fast.

Why is it valuable?

Most UX designers work on software. Rapid prototyping helps you find usability problems and pain points before your software goes live. That saves you a lot of time and money.

It's super important in the business world, and if you can make that happen, you'll be an in-demand UX designer.

Another benefit of creating rapid prototypes is team visibility. It means that you can show the latest designs you've made to other team members. It'll remove miscommunication when the whole team is up-to-date on the status of your design.

And last but not least, continuously testing your designs helps you validate what you've been working on and understand if it meets the user needs and goals you've found during the UX research phase of your project.

Different types of rapid prototyping

You can apply rapid prototyping to different design types. These types include both low and high-fidelity prototypes. Each comes with pros and cons, however, which we will discuss below.


You can create low-fidelity prototypes using online tools like ProtoPie, Figma, or pen and paper.

While using pen and paper is super fast, digital tools like ProtoPie and Figma allow you to create multiple versions and basic interactions. That takes longer to set up than a pen-and-paper prototype, but it will save you time if you're planning on testing for a longer time.

The main advantage of lo-fi rapid prototyping is speed. It works best during the early stages of the design project.


Hi-fi prototypes are the opposite in pros and cons compared to lo-fi prototypes. They're more complex to design because they require both UX and UI work.

That takes time and goes against the idea of prototyping being rapid.

The main advantage, however, is that it increases the usefulness of the feedback you will receive. That's because detailed prototypes are more realistic.

Rapid prototype best practices

Rapid prototyping does not follow specific and linear steps. There are some best practices, though. They're as follows: be quick, test often, and iterate rapidly.

Be quick

One of the most important parts of rapid prototyping is speed. You can use a digital tool or go old school with a paper prototype.

Being quick is essential to the other best practices. If you can design quickly, you can do more tests and iterate more.

Test often

Sharing your prototyping results and insights with your team is a great start. That feedback helps improve the quality of the software you're building.

Because of that, testing often is highly recommended. You could, for example, do a rapid prototype once per sprint (Scrum). That's a prototyping test once every two weeks.

Iterate rapidly

One of the most important rules in design is that you should not release software until it has been tested and verified by the UX designer or team.

That gives another meaning to the word rapid. It doesn't longer only mean testing often. It also means you should implement the changes and test again quickly. Otherwise, you'll hold back the development of your product.

Useful resources

What Is Rapid Prototyping In UX - Careerfoundry

Rapid Prototyping in UX and UI design - ProtoPie

Rapid Prototyping Process and Fidelity - UX Pin

What is Rapid Prototyping? - Bravo Studio



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