top of page
An appearance model may be images of the product developed by a designer or 
a physical mock-up made with a 3D printer, foam, or cardboard. The images are more than sketches and are usually a series of drawings used to explore different configurations of the product. 
The primary use of an appearance model is to examine and evaluate the size, color, and visual features of the product.

An appearance model can be used for fund-raising and for developing interest in the product from a company's board or potential investors. If someone is starting a company based on a new product, it's often the appearance model 
that is used when presenting the business plan.
Proof of concept is a quick method for assembly of the product. Unlike an appearance model, it isn't always supposed to look like the finished version. Instead, the focus is on the feasibility of the idea to evaluate its performance or the 
performance of some of its components. 

Designers use this prototype to consider risks and to determine which components are needed in the final version. This can 
include testing the user interface or evaluating specific technical components. Primarily used for internal development, it can also be used to present to investors to 
prove the concept works.
An initial prototype usually resembles the finished product and works much the same as the finished product is intended to work. It's used for testing to evaluate design flaws and 
evaluate the appearance of the product. User testing is sometimes done with the initial prototype.

Developing the initial prototype is more expensive than the previous versions. It may take months to construct an initial prototype, 
while earlier prototypes may have been done in a matter of days or weeks. It gives the product development team and client an idea of how the final version will be produced because much of the process involves constructing parts that will appear in the final 
design and showing how they fit together.
A beta prototype is a refined version of the alpha prototype. It's as much as a 90% approximation of how the final product will look and behave.

Several beta prototypes may be made for user testing or clinical trials. It's with the beta prototype that production tests and protocols 
are documented as the product is made and assembled. Changes to the beta prototype usually involve minor tweaks rather than 
major  changes.
bottom of page