Similar to paper prototyping, paper-in screen prototyping displays low-fi mockups on the device itself. However, the latter will only work with some pre-defined scenarios. (i.e. the interactions of the design will not be complete)

Are paper-in screen prototypes more suitable than the paper prototypes to gather feedback during a usability test?

  • I am sorry, what exactly is your question?
    – KMSTR
    Commented Nov 8, 2015 at 15:18
  • @KMSTR question was edited. Is it more clear?
    – user1995
    Commented Nov 8, 2015 at 16:33
  • Are you comparing physical paper prototype vs low-fidelity digital prototype Physical prototype is great for rapid iterations in a highly collaborative environment, to get the rough flows & layouts down. Just about anybody can pitch in to the process, because everybody knows how to draw. Low-fidelity digital prototype takes a bit more effort to build, but it provides more accurate simulation of the finished product than paper prototype would.
    – Jung Lee
    Commented Nov 8, 2015 at 19:59
  • Thanks @JungLee my only concern with low-fidelity digital prototype is that not all actions that the user might click on will work.
    – user1995
    Commented Nov 9, 2015 at 9:18

3 Answers 3


it depends. if its for feedback and brainstorming with other members in your team paper prototyping is good. if its for gathering feedback from potential users i'd suggest you use an actual device compared to paper prototypes. specially if you're prototyping for for mobile. why is this? because the user needs to feel they are 'using' the product.

  • Thanks @AmeenAkbar, I am prototyping for a tablet and found an application that supports transitions and gestures when using such device. However, if they perform the task incorrectly the interface will not cater for actions that do not have a hotspot associated with them.
    – user1995
    Commented Nov 9, 2015 at 9:25

From my experience, the lowest of low-fi prototypes (wire wireframes, paper prototypes) are not that suitable for users that are not involved in the development process. The abstraction level they would have to use is too high to get reliable information.

"Imagine, that this is a list of products on your cart" simply does not work that well. I tend to use lowest-fi wireframes/prototypes for development purposes only. Every time I need to get feedback from real customers/test participants, I'd rather go for a more detailed version.

  • Thanks @Jan, can you please explain what "a more detailed version" refer to?
    – user1995
    Commented Nov 9, 2015 at 9:29
  • Sure! As always, this depends on your context, but I'd re-take the example of a e-commerce shopping cart: Instead of image boxes, I'd take actual products from the shop. Instead of using text placeholders, take real copy, use the real page header, the real page footer, etc. Users can feel more related to the actual problem, the actual site, which makes the results more reliable. We tried wireframe prototypes on usability lab tests on several topics, but the results were never that satisfying, since due to more explanatory needs, the situation grow artificial and thus watered the answers.
    – Jan
    Commented Nov 9, 2015 at 9:36
  • great example! ...regarding the wireframe prototypes used in the usability lab tests were they performed on paper?
    – user1995
    Commented Nov 9, 2015 at 9:51
  • We tried several approaches: Quick design iterations on low fi paper wires, Quick design iterations on balsamiq-like wireframes, Medium speed design iterations on Axure with prototype functionality, slow design iterations full design click dummies. All tests were done in lab environment with a hand full of participants. Unfortunately, the highest work load (fine designs) gave the best results, because of the reasons mentioned above.
    – Jan
    Commented Nov 9, 2015 at 10:33
  • While I don't entirely disagree with this, I will say that suitability of a prototype has more to do with how it's being tested and presented to the users. In otherwords, any fidelity should be testable. You may just have to test it differently depending on the fidelity.
    – DA01
    Commented Jan 8, 2016 at 16:48

Are paper-in screen prototypes more suitable than the paper prototypes to gather feedback during a usability test?

Using paper-in screen prototypes has one major advantage over paper prototypes that with paper-in screen prototypes you already have a digital artifact which can be

  • shared with multiple users/designers for their feedback.

  • collaboration is possible since multple designers can work on it together and users can leave their feedback on the design itself on the same artifact.

  • version control is possible and you can always review how your design has evolved and how usability test has helped your design over time.

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