Information System Prototyping

Information System Prototype

A prototype typically simulates only a few aspects of the final solution, and may be completely different from the final product.In terms of an information system, prototypes are employed to help system designers build an information system that intuitive and easy to manipulate for end users. Prototyping is an iterative process that is part of the analysis phase of the systems development life cycle.

During the requirements determination portion of the systems analysis phase, system analysts gather information about the organization’s current procedures and business processes related the proposed information system. In addition, they study the current information system, if there is one, and conduct user interviews and collect documentation. This helps the analysts develop an initial set of system requirements.

Prototyping can augment this process because it converts these basic, yet sometimes intangible, specifications into a tangible but limited working model of the desired information system. The user feedback gained from developing a physical system that the users can touch and see facilitates an evaluative response that the analyst can employ to modify existing requirements as well as developing new ones.

Dimensions of prototypes
  1. Horizontal Prototype:  A common term for a user interface prototype is the horizontal prototype. It provides a broad view of an entire system or subsystem, focusing on user interaction more than low-level system functionality, such as database access. Horizontal prototypes are useful for:
    • Confirmation of user interface requirements and system scope
    • Demonstration version of the system to obtain buy-in from the business
    •  Develop preliminary estimates of development time, cost and effort.
  2. Vertical Prototype: A vertical prototype is a more complete elaboration of a single subsystem or function. It is useful for obtaining detailed requirements for a given function, with the following benefits:
    • Refinement database design
    • Obtain information on data volumes and system interface needs, for network sizing and performance engineering
    • Clarifies complex requirements by drilling down to actual system functionality
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  1. Pingback: » Types of prototyping

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