Prototyping is a repetitive practice involving analysts and users in which a miniature or a test version of an information system is built and rebuilt according to user feedback.[5] Prototyping preceded by interviews and collecting documentation, allows the analyst to quickly convert basic requirements into a working, though a limited version of the desired information system. The prototype will be then viewed and experienced by the user, thus generating new requirements.

For example, in the first interviews, a stakeholder might have said that he wanted all significant products billing information on a single computer display form, such as the customer’s name and address, the product record, and the inventory history. Once the same user sees how jammed and confusing such a design would be in the prototype, he might change his mind and opt for a presentation in which the information is organized on different screens. This calls for a redesign of the system, hence prototyping.

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The advantages that can be realized through this approach are:

  1. Systems requirements are better captured as the system is being developed.
  2. It solves the communication problems that may have existed between users and analysts in making sure that the requirements are specific as possible.
  3. It involves the user in analysis and design, and thus captures requirements in concrete, rather than verbal or abstract.

On the other hand, the drawbacks of this technique are:

  1. Prototypes are mainly developed as stand-alone systems hence ignoring sharing of data and systems interactions.
  2. The prototype may be presumed as efficient by the initial user but other users may find it difficult to adapt.
  3. There is a trend to avoid outlining formal documentation due to the changing requirements. This may delay the overall system development.