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Determine What to Prototype

There are so many ways to prototype an idea. Here’s how to isolate what to test.


Suggested Time

2 - 3 Hours

Level of Difficulty


Materials Needed

Pens, Post-its, paper, Customer Journey Map


Design team

Process Phase

This activity will help you and your team review all of your concepts and determine a set to bring forward for testing. Each concept will have lots of testable components, so you’ll want to be clear about what you need to learn and what components to test to get to the necessary answers. Having a customer Journey Map that reflects everything you know about your user’s journey will make this activity much easier, so make sure you’ve got that before you start.


  1. Start by mapping out the most important moments in your user journey again, and any important shifts or improvements that are needed. Use the Prototype Mapping worksheet to guide you in this exercise.
  2. Next, take each of your concepts and map them against the shifts that they correspond to. You might have more than one concept for each moment in the user journey. Check also that you have a good spread of concepts across the journey, and that you’re not too narrowly focused on one particular shift just yet.
  3. Now it’s time to make some strategic decisions about what to take forward to test. Explore these questions with your team as you decide:  What are the most crucial moments/shifts within your journey to be addressed? Which concepts are so exciting that you absolutely have to test them in a real life setting? Where have you got the biggest unknowns?  Those concepts might justify a bit more attention in prototyping.
  4. The final step is to get tactical about the aspects of each concept you need to test. You might be trying to learn something like,  “Will both boys and girls find this appealing?”  or  “Would images or words be better to convey a message to this audience?” . Write those down. These are your learning goals, and they will be super important as you move ahead to Build & Run Prototypes.