Prototype Testing

While developing a new software product, the team of developers adopt numerous ways to create a product that has impeccable quality and that meets the requirements of users incredibly. Creating a prototype and testing it is one such method, which helps software developers and testers immensely. To signify its importance during software testing life cycle (STLC), let us discuss prototype and prototype testing in detail.

Defining a Prototype:

As defined by Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, a prototype is "an original model on which something is patterned" or a first full scale and usually functional form of a new type or design of a construction" that is generated in every field to assess the quality and effectiveness of the product. It is a sample or a model of a product that is produced to assess the concept or a process from the perspective of the end user/customer. Prototypes help create a product that fulfils all requirements and is appropriate in its specifications and functionality.

What is Prototype Testing?

In order to develop a quality product for their clients, software tester’s around the world use an effective testing technique - Prototype Testing -to tests and analyse its quality, features, and other important components. As software development is distinctly dependent on the specifications and requirements specified by the client, it becomes vital for them to cross check their inculcation in the software and to ensure their effectiveness.

By implementing prototype testing before the release of the software the team can determine the quality of the software and can get an accurate reaction to it that can be further helpful in rectifying issues and deviances in the software.

To put it briefly, the process of prototype testing assists the team of testers in testing the quality, design, and other important components of the software, while making sure that it has been developed according to the requirements of the client, specified by them before the commencement of the whole project.

Characteristics of Prototype Testing:

When a software is developed for the first time, the involved development and testing teams search for various ways to detect any fault in its design, code, or any other component. At this stage, prototype testing helps them exceedingly, as it aids them in identifying the usability of the software as well as helps them find any loopholes present in its structure before it is released in the market for the customers. Other important features of prototype testing are:

  • Conducted with the intent of finding defects in the software prior to its implementation.
  • It assess the design and other important components of the product.
  • Validates its usefulness and ensures it meets user requirements efficiently.
  • Offers corroboration regarding the product, its design, branding, and more, which allows the team to validate that they are moving in the correct direction.
  • It is most effective during iterative testing, as it allows the team to make necessary changes and to ensure that issues do not arise in the course of software implementation.

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Steps for Prototype Testing:

While understanding the relevance of prototype testing in Software Testing Life Cycle (STLC), it is crucial for us to comprehend the steps for effectuating its process. Therefore, following are the steps for prototype testing:

  • Prototype Development & Resource Preparation: The initial step of the process is to ensure proper development of the prototype, after which the team prepares necessary assets and resources that simplify the process of test execution.
  • Requirement Assessment: Here the team indulges in requirement evaluation, which helps them plan the process of testing, which enables them to validate the specified requirements effectively.
  • Planning: To ensure the accuracy of the test a test plan is prepared, wherein the responsible Individuals are allocated their specific tasks. Moreover, the team decided on the techniques and tools that will be used in testing the software prototype.
  • Test Execution: After accumulating all the vital resources and preparing an effective execution plan, the team executes the process of testing by inviting voluntary target users and evaluate the software product from their perspective, while recording results and outputs.
  • Collect Results & Analyse Data: Finally, the results of these tests are collected and analyzed by the team and various issues or discrepancies encountered by them are rectified and removed with the assistance of appropriate methods and techniques.

Why is Prototype Testing Valuable?

Prototype testing can be a huge asset in testing the features of the software product before it is released and made available for the use of end users. By implementing prototype testing, the team of testers can the study the software, application, or a process and make necessary changes. Reasons that make prototype testing valuable are:

  • It helps improve the usability of the software/application.
  • Validates and enhances the decision made regarding the design of the software.
  • With the assistance of Prototype Testing, the team can assess the first impression of the software product.
  • Allows evaluation of the product and helps make necessary correction in accordance with the set goals.
  • Ensures product’s flawless and effective operation after its release.
  • As defects and issues are identified early, it makes the process of development time and cost effective.
  • It tests the software thoroughly while considering all of its specifications.
  • The team can easily identify missing functionalities, with the assistance of prototype testing.

Limitations of Prototype Testing:

No matter the effectiveness of a process, there are always some limitations that are associated with it that are needed to be acknowledged for accurately understanding the entire testing process. Hence, few of the limitations of prototype testing are mentioned below for your reference:

  • The process of prototype testing is a time consuming process as it involves thorough testing of the software.
  • Changes and modification requested by the client can make the process complex as well as costly.
  • Rectification of issues and defects can delay the delivery of the product.

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Conclusion :

From the above discussion, we can easily conclude that prototype testing is a type of software testing technique, wherein the team works together with some end users to ensure the quality, functionality, as well as the effectiveness of the product before its release. It ensures that the product meets all the specified requirements and validates the accuracy of the product’s design, structure, features, quality, effectiveness, and more. Hence, it is a must perform testing activity before the implementation or go live of the project.

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