In working on the prototypes for our website, I was thinking about how practical these would be for a client. Then, in conversation with our classmate, Keith, he suggested a great thought: Prototyping is just like alpha- and beta-testing software, like utilities or video games. Developers have long since come up with a product, and progress is well underway. In order to get a handle on how it will be used, however, a structural, feature-light test is given to a limited number of users. These users–quality assurance testers–do everything they can to break the program. They push such programs to find breaking points where the program can be improved. Not unlike prototyping.
When a potential client is handed a prototype, they are going to try to use it, obviously, like a user would. If and when something does not work, it is noted and must be solved. As production continues, more and more features are added until a final version is ready to be released to the public. At this point, both the developers and the users are confident in the utility of the program.