Prototyping is the activity of creating incomplete versions of software applications. This is done to test implementations, guide development and get feedback.

Software prototyping, refers to the activity of creating prototypes of software applications, i.e., incomplete versions of the software program being developed. It is an activity that can occur in software development and is comparable to prototyping as known from other fields, such as mechanical engineering or manufacturing.

Reference: Wikipedia article on 'Prototyping process', retrieved 2011-04-26

Prototypes ...

  • usually have restricted functionality and/or reduced visual appearance
  • are used to test planned implementations and help in developing user experience
  • are often part of a research or user testing effort
  • can address a particular problem or give a full width impression of the user interface

Question with this tag deal with the creation, use and analysis of prototypes.